Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression often experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to care for themselves and others.

Overview and Symptoms

There is no single cause of postpartum depression, but it likely results from a combination of physical and emotional factors. After childbirth, the levels of hormones in a woman’s body quickly drop and can trigger mood swings. In addition, many mothers are unable to get the rest they need to fully recover from giving birth. Constant sleep deprivation can lead to physical discomfort and exhaustion, which can contribute to symptoms.

Common symptoms include:

  • Feeling hopeless, overwhelmed or anxious
  • Crying more often than usual
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Doubting the ability to care for your newborn

Treatment at BIDMC

Treatment for postpartum depression may include a combination of counseling/talk therapy and antidepressant medications. Your health care provider will help create a treatment plan that’s best for you.

Learn More

Our highly specialized team in the Department of Psychiatry is committed to providing ongoing care and treatment recommendations for those suffering from psychiatric illnesses.

Psychiatry Ambulatory Service