Post-partum depression is major depression that is caused by and immediately follows childbirth, a miscarriage, or a stillbirth.  New mothers experience many strange feelings, but postpartum depression is severe enough to affect functioning.  The condition may interfere with a mother’s ability to bond with her baby at a time when it is crucial to the child’s development, so it is very important to address depression after pregnancy and not to ignore warning signs.


  • Doubting one’s ability to be a mother
  • Failure to bond with the baby
  • Anxiety about motherhood
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Loss of focus
  • Fear of judgment about the condition


Postpartum depression can be caused by physiological changes in hormone levels during and after pregnancy.  Having a history of depression puts one at a higher risk.  The baby’s behavior may also cause postpartum depression.  Babies that are colicky or otherwise more difficult to manage put greater stress on a mother.  Family history should be consulted if postpartum depression is suspected to be the cause of changes in mood after childbirth.


Because postpartum depression is likely a medical issue, it can be treated with antidepressants.  Therapy is also highly recommended to give a mother an outlet to express feelings about motherhood that relate to the depression.  Exercise and diet are also important in returning to pre-pregnancy lifestyles.

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