“Maternal postpartum depression (PPD), one of the most common and disabling complications of childbearing, is often under-diagnosed and under-treated,” (2).

Many people expect pregnancy to be a happy occasion, and it is, but feelings of exhaustion, stress, and sadness are just as common. If you have been feeling depressed or have low energy during or after pregnancy, you might have postpartum depression and it is important to reach out for help so that you can care for both your child and yourself.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Even among new mothers without a history of depression, the prevalence of postpartum depression (PPD) occurs in about 17% of new moms regardless of a history of depression, (1). PPD can occur early on after pregnancy (within days to weeks), but it has also been shown to increase in prevalence at 6 months to 1-year postpartum, (1). However, healthy moms are often not screened for PPD (this needs to change ASAP in the healthcare system) or are reluctant to discuss their concerns.

Treatment for Postpartum Depression

Many moms may understandably resist expressing concerns for PPD out of fear of treatment (perhaps the fear of the transfer of medication through breastfeeding). However, research shows that anti-depressants like SSRIs (specifically sertraline, aka Zoloft) minimally pass into breastmilk and are not contraindicated during breastfeeding, (2). Of course, the best success of anti-depressants is when combined with talk therapy like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  

Diagnosing Postpartum Depression

Knowledge about postpartum depression detection and treatment is critical for us as healthcare providers to know. Screening any of our patients who are new moms (whether this is their first or fourth child) is essential and can be done with any standard depression screening tools we have available like the PHQ-9, (2). This is basically when your doctor asks you depression-related questions to gauge the severity of a patient’s depression.

New moms are going through so much physically, mentally, and emotionally and it is our job as primary care providers to support them as best as we can. Therefore, new moms should be encouraged to be honest and open with their OBGYNs (or even their pediatricians during newborn visits) about how they are feeling. The support system of healthcare providers surrounding mothers are there to listen and put in appropriate referrals to therapists, psychiatrists, and support centers like the Seleni Institute.  

Postpartum Care in New York, NY

These are pieces of information that hopefully put new moms at ease, knowing that there are safe options for treatment. Knowledge about risks for PPD and options for treatment, whether it be CBT or safe and effective anti-depressants, can allow mothers to better take care of themselves and in turn, their little ones. As Dr. Tepper says, “healthy mom, healthy baby.” Schedule a consultation today to learn more about postpartum depression symptoms and address any concerns you are facing during pregnancy.


(1) Shefaly, S., Cornelia, Y., Esperanz, D., Yiong Huak, C., Wilson, W., Yap, S.C. (2018) 

Prevalence and incidence of postpartum depression among healthy mothers: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Psychiatric Research (104).

(2) Stewart, D.E., and Vigod, S.N. (2019). Postpartum Depression: Pathophysiology, Treatment, and Emerging Therapeutics. Annual Review of Medicine (70). doi: 


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.