Postpartum depression can be overwhelming but it’s very common and treatable. It affects more than 10 percent of women who give birth, so you don’t have to feel alone. We have resources and treatment available to you.

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression, also referred to as PPD, is a type of depression that happens after someone gives birth.

There are different types of postpartum depression:

  • “Baby blues:” This is a short-term and mild case of depression. It’s also very common, affecting mothers when their hormones change shortly after giving birth. This can last for up to two weeks.
  • Postpartum depression: This is characterized by more severe symptoms that are long-lasting, affecting some mothers for an entire year or more. In some cases, postpartum depression also begins during pregnancy rather than after giving birth.
  • Postpartum psychosis: This is a rare and severe form of PPD usually occurring one week after birth. Symptoms are intense and include hallucinations, feelings of paranoia and confusion and making attempts to hurt somebody.

Symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety and/or guilt
  • Loss of appetite, energy and/or interest
  • Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Thoughts of hurting your baby or disinterest in your baby

What causes postpartum depression?

Women experience a combination of hormonal, physical, emotional, financial and social changes after pregnancy and labor, which can lead to postpartum depression.

You may be at increased risk for developing postpartum depression if you:

  • Have a personal or family history of depression, PPD or PMDD
  • Have a lack social support
  • Are single
  • Are younger than 20
  • Have a baby with special needs

If you’ve experienced PPD with a previous pregnancy, your risk for PPD recurrence increases to 30 percent for subsequent pregnancies.

Diagnosis and testing for postpartum depression

Your care provider will evaluate your mental health during a regular three-week postpartum checkup.

Many providers use Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to screen for postpartum depression—for an accurate diagnosis, this scale requires candid, honest answers from the patient.

Postpartum depression treatment options

With guidance from your care provider, the following treatment options can help ease the effects of PPD:

  • Medication (SSRIs, SNRIs, Bupropion, TCAs) like antidepressants can help resolve your symptoms. Many antidepressants are also safe for those breastfeeding their newborns, so be sure to discuss possible risks and benefits with your provider.
  • Psychotherapy and support groups can be extremely beneficial for PPD patients who need to talk through their struggles and find comfort and support from others.

Next steps for patient

If you’d like to meet with a provider and find the best possible care options, it’s time to reach out to Main Line Health. Schedule a visit with a specialist today.

Call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or request an appointment online.

Women’s health care at Main Line Health

Our specialists provide the latest technological advancements with expertise and compassion—working to find the best possible treatment while prioritizing your comfort and peace of mind throughout the care journey.

At Main Line Health, you’ll have access to:

  • Excellence in gynecological care—including treatment for serious gynecological issues, at locations that are close to home and easy to access.
  • Physicians near you—who provide a full range of general and specialized gynecologic services for women, from yearly well-woman exams and cancer screenings to highly specialized procedures—including advanced laparoscopic, hysteroscopic and robotic approaches.
  • Main Line Health's Philadelphia area hospitals—Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital offer comprehensive women's health services to meet your needs and those of your family. Our healthcare experts are uniquely qualified to address the special concerns of women.
  • Advanced gynecology program—provides patients with collaborative, advanced treatments for complex benign gynecologic conditions. Our multidisciplinary team can meet your individual care needs through comprehensive evaluation and developing personalized treatment plans.