Postpartum depression (PPD) is a type of clinical depression that may occur following the birth of your baby. The symptoms can start within a few weeks of birth, or sometimes, they can take longer to develop. How severe the symptoms are will vary greatly, but for some people, it can make it difficult to care for yourself or your baby.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Symptoms of postpartum depression vary among individuals. The following are possible symptoms of postpartum depression:

  • Low mood or persistent sadness
  • Loss of interest
  • Weight or appetite changes
  • Trouble with decision making or concentrating
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Sleep issues
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Panic attacks or anxiety
  • Fear of hurting yourself or your baby

Some people also experience physical symptoms with postpartum depression. You may experience headaches, random pains or aches and stomachaches.

Causes of Postpartum Depression

No one knows the exact cause of this condition, but experts believe that there are several factors that play a role. Some people are at a higher risk due to a family history of depression and other mood disorders. If you had depression in the past, this could also increase your risk.

There are hormonal changes during pregnancy which may partially trigger PPD. Sharp drops in progesterone and estrogen after childbirth can affect the neurotransmitters that regulate mood.

If you had a traumatic birth experience, this could increase your risk of PPD. The risk might also be higher if you have pre-existing stressors in your life, such as relationship or financial issues.

Your physical health can also play a role. If you have chronic health issues or pregnancy complications, your risk of PPD could be higher.

Postpartum Depression Treatment Options

Postpartum depression treatment often involves medicine and talk therapy. Your doctor may start with psychotherapy and recommend that you talk to a mental health professional. For PPD, the psychotherapies that professionals usually recommend include interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

If psychotherapy is not enough, your mental health professional might recommend antidepressants. Make sure to let them know if you are breastfeeding since you might not be able to take certain antidepressants during breastfeeding.

If you have certain PPD symptoms that are particularly severe, your mental health provider may recommend other medicines in addition to any antidepressants they prescribe. For example, if you have significant insomnia, there are medicines that can help you sleep. Medicines to reduce anxiety may also be recommended if your anxiety levels are particularly high.

You will have regular appointments with your mental health provider. They will constantly evaluate your treatment regimen to make sure it is working for you.

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Dr. Alex Tepper has been caring for patients for more than 20 years at board-certified OB/GYN practices in New York City. He and his team focus on providing concierge and personalized care for all patients. Using the latest medical techniques and technologies, Dr. Tepper and his team provide fast and accurate diagnosis and treatment. Contact Dr. Tepper and the team online today to schedule your consultation.


Whether you are a new or returning patient, Dr. Tepper can assess your concerns and discuss your options to find the most comfortable and convenient care for you. To get started, call our office to set up an appointment.