Symptoms and Signs of Postpartum Depression

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 8/6/2021

Doctor's Notes on Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a significant form of clinical depression that occurs in some women soon after having a baby. The condition can be disabling and women may feel anxious, upset, alone, afraid, unloving toward their baby, and guilt for feeling this way.

Symptoms of postpartum depression can begin any time from 24 hours to a few months after delivery and include

  • sadness,
  • frequent crying,
  • lack of pleasure or interest in activities that once gave pleasure,
  • sleep disturbance,
  • weight loss,
  • loss of energy,
  • agitation,
  • anxiety,
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt,
  • trouble concentrating or making decisions,
  • thoughts of death or suicide,
  • thoughts of the homicide of the baby,
  • decreased interest in sex, or feelings of rejection.

Physical symptoms such as frequent headaches, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, numbness, shakiness or dizziness, and mild shortness of breath may indicate postpartum anxiety, which is a separate disorder but may occur at the same time as postpartum depression.

What is the Treatment for Postpartum Depression?

Treatment for postpartum depression includes a combination of medications and/or therapies and support for the new mother. 

Treatments include:

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.