Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a type of clinical depression which can affect women after childbirth. Symptoms may include sadness, low energy, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced desire for sex, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability. While many women experience self-limited, mild symptoms postpartum, postpartum depression should be suspected when symptoms are severe and have lasted over two weeks. Although a number of risk factors have been identified, the causes of PPD are not well understood. Hormonal change is hypothesized to contribute as one cause of postpartum depression. The emotional effects of postpartum depression can include sleep deprivation, anxiety about parenthood and caring for an infant, identity crisis, a feeling of loss of control over life, and lack of support from a romantic or sexual partner.” Many women recover with treatment such as a support group, counseling, or medication. Studies report prevalence rates among women from 5% to 25%, but methodological differences among the studies make the actual prevalence rate unclear. Among men, in particular new fathers, the incidence of postpartum depression has been estimated to be between 1% and 25.5%.