Post Natal Depression


At least 1 in 10 women experience depression after having a baby.  Depression that continues past birth or that develops within the first 3 months after giving birth is called postnatal depression.  Sometimes postnatal depression is confused with the “baby blues”, which 8 out of 10 women experience after giving birth.  The “baby blues” cause women to feel more tearful and emotional than usual, but they usually only last a day or two and don’t require professional intervention.

Postnatal depression is also different from postpartum psychosis which is much less common (approximately one new mother in every thousand develops postpartum psychosis) and much more severe.  Women with postpartum psychosis may see or hear things that aren’t there, have difficulties thinking clearly, and become paranoid that others are against them.

Common symptoms of postnatal depression are:

– Feeling sad, low, or helpless
– Tearfulness or uncontrollable crying
– Feeling guilty that you have a new baby and  aren’t filled with joy
– Losing interest in activities that used to be enjoyable (including sex)
– Feeling anxious and panicky, especially about your infants health
– Feeling irritable, angry, and exhausted
– Being unable to sleep, even when the baby goes down
– Not feeling hungry or eating more than usual
– Concentration difficulties
– Indecisiveness
– Preferring to be alone rather than with family and friends
– Self-criticism (“I’m a bad mother”, “I’m the only one who can’t cope with being a mother”)

A new baby can be challenging so women often miss symptoms of postnatal depression.  Woman can also feel ashamed or embarrassed about their symptoms and avoid seeking help.  If you think you may be experiencing postnatal depression it’s important you discuss this with a close friend, family member or your general practitioner.