Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression

Is this your symptom?

  • Postpartum (less than one year having a baby) and
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feelings of sadness or having no hope
  • Decreased joy from or interest in daily activities

Some Basics...

  • Postpartum "Blues:" Nearly half of all women feel sad or depressed after delivery. This is called "Baby Blues". Baby Blues most often start between 3-10 days after having a baby. They last 2-14 days. Healthy living habits can help a woman feel better. These include eating healthy, sleeping more, and getting support from family and friends. Sometimes, the problems get worse. If this happens, psychiatric help is needed.
  • Postpartum Depression: This is a major depression that 10-15% of women have after delivery. It most often begins during the first month after having a baby. But it may begin at any time during the 1-2 years after delivery. Women with postpartum depression can be treated. Psychiatric help, support services, and antidepressant drugs can help a woman to recover.


People with depression have a sad mood. They often describe decreased joy from or interest in daily activities. They have less energy. Sometimes people may have one or more of these:

  • Major weight loss (or gain) and not dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping a lot
  • Easily upset
  • Mental slowness
  • Loss of energy
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Not able to focus
  • Thoughts of death or about hurting oneself
  • Anxiety


  • It can be treated with counseling or with medications. Sometimes both are needed.
  • Healthy living habits can make a person feel better. These include eating healthy and regular sleep. Exercise is also helpful.

When to Call for Postpartum Depression

Call 911 Now

  • Attempted suicide
  • Feeling like harming yourself or killing yourself
  • You think you have a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • You feel severely depressed
  • You are thinking of hurting your baby
  • Acting strange, bizarre, or confused
  • You feel weak or very sick
  • You think you need to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • You want to talk with a mental health worker, psychiatrist, or counselor
  • You are afraid to be left alone with your baby
  • Your symptoms keep you from taking good care of your baby
  • Your symptoms keep you from working or going to school or other activities
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • You think you need to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Depression symptoms and it is more than 1 month after delivery
  • Depression symptoms last more than 2 weeks
  • Had a past psychiatric illness (manic-depression, schizophrenia)
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Baby Blues (mild depression) and it is less than 1 month since delivery

Care Advice

General Advice for Postpartum Depression

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Nearly half of all women feel sad or depressed after delivery. This is called "Baby Blues."
    • Women with Baby Blues do get better. Even women who feel as bad as you feel now. You can be helped.
    • Healthy living habits can help you to feel better.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Tips for Healthy Living: There are things you can do to feel better. These include:
    • Eat healthy: Eat a well-balanced diet. Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.
    • Get more sleep: Try to take naps while the baby is sleeping. Ask for help from friends, family, or your community. If someone comes over to help, then you can take a longer nap. Have the baby sleep in a different room. This will help you sleep more soundly.
    • Communicate: Share how you are feeling with someone. Make sure that your husband, family, or friends know how you are feeling.
    • Exercise: Take a daily walk.
    • Stay active: Spend time outside of your home. Go on an outing with a family member or a friend. Go to the store. Go to a movie.
    • Avoid alcohol.
  3. What to Expect: Most of the time, Baby Blues will last 2-14 days.
  4. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Sadness or depression lasts more than 2 weeks
    • You want to talk with a mental health worker, psychiatrist, or counselor
    • You feel like harming yourself
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You get worse

Internet Resources and Referral Phone Numbers

  1. United States Hotline and Helplines - NAMI Information HelpLine:
    • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    • The NAMI HelpLine is a source for finding community mental health programs. National toll-free phone number: 800-950-NAMI (6264). You can call this number Monday through Friday from 10 am- 6 pm (Eastern Time).
  2. United States - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment:
    • Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
    • National referral hotline for substance abuse treatment and mental health: 800-662-4357 (24 hours a day)
  3. United States - Mood Disorders Organizations:
    • Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)
    • There is a FIND A THERAPIST link on the home page.
    • Telephone: 240-485-1001
  4. Canada Hotlines and Helplines:
    • New Brunswick: Offered by region
    • Northwest Territories - Nats'ejée K'éh Treatment Centre crisis line: 800-661-0846
    • Ontario - Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH): 800-463-6273
  5. Canada - Mood Disorder Organizations:

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Last Reviewed: 3/18/2018 1:00:30 AM
Last Updated: 5/7/2017 1:36:13 PM

Copyright 2000-2017 Health Navigator, Inc. All rights reserved.