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Postpartum depression

a woman talking on the phone while a baby plays on the floor
More information about postpartum depression can be found in the Trying to conceive, pregnancy, and mental health section of womenshealth.gov.

Many new moms feel happy one minute and sad the next. If you feel better after a week or so, you probably just had the "baby blues." If it takes you longer to feel better, you may have postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is when a new mother has a major depressive episode within one month after delivery. Ten to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth. It can make you feel restless, anxious, fatigued and worthless. Some new moms worry they will hurt themselves or their babies. Unlike the "baby blues," postpartum depression does not go away quickly.

Very rarely, new moms develop something even more serious. They may stop eating, have trouble sleeping, and become frantic or paranoid. Women with this more serious condition usually need to be hospitalized.

Researchers think that changes in your hormone levels during and after pregnancy may lead to postpartum depression. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends screening for depression after pregnancy. Medicine and talk therapy can help you get well.

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More information on Postpartum depression

Read more from womenshealth.gov

  • Depression During and After Pregnancy Fact Sheet - This fact sheet discusses depression during and after pregnancy, what might cause it, symptoms you may experience, and how it is treated. It also explains how untreated depression can negatively affect your life.

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Content last updated: February 12, 2016.

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