How long does postpartum depression last? (2023)

How long does postpartum depression last? (1)

Pregnancy and childbirth bring with them an abundance of joy, but also some unique challenges. One of those challenges is the possibility of postpartum depression, which can commence anytime after birth in both mothers and fathers.

If you’re concerned about postpartum depression, or are just interested in learning more about it, keep reading as we describe the symptoms of postpartum depression, discuss how long it may last, and set out the ways that you can get the help you might need.

In this article:

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression symptoms

Postpartum depression vs. "baby blues"

Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety

Postpartum depression vs. postpartum psychosis

Who gets postpartum depression?


Risk factors for postpartum depression

Postpartum depression in dads

How long postpartum depression lasts

When it begins

When it typically ends

Effects of postpartum depression

On the mother

On the child

Social and emotional development

Cognitive development

Physical development

Treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression

Screening for postpartum depression

Screening for paternal postpartum depression

Diagnosing postpartum depression

Treating postpartum depression

(Video) How Long Will You Have Postpartum Depression? | HealthyPlace




Postpartum self-care

The Takeaway

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD) generally refers to depression that women can experience as a result of giving birth. Paternal postpartum depression is also common and is discussed further below.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) refers to depression caused by pregnancy and/or birth as "peripartum depression" to emphasize that symptoms can arise both during pregnancy or after the baby is born. You might also see it referred to as "perinatal depression." There is no significant difference between these terms and they are usually used interchangeably.

For purposes of this article, we will say "postpartum depression" or PPD.

Postpartum depression symptoms

How long does postpartum depression last? (2)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) used by medical professionals identifies PPD as a major depressive disorder, which are characterized by the following symptoms:

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day

  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day

  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month)

  4. Insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness during the day) nearly every day

  5. Psychomotor agitation (restlessness characterized by movements like pacing or handwringing) or retardation (slower thinking or body movements)—these must be observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down

  6. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day

  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day

  8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day

  9. Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide

The DSM-5 specifies that these symptoms must “cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning” and must not be caused by another medical condition or substance.

Postpartum depression vs. "baby blues"

After giving birth, it's common for many new moms to experience an emotional condition known as "baby blues," which can involve more frequent crying and feelings of restlessness and anxiety.

The precise cause of the baby blues is not known, but it is likely some combination of hormonal changes during pregnancy and after birth, lack of sleep, adjusting to a new routine, and the rush of emotions from new parenthood.

Baby blues usually starts a few days after giving birth and lasts for a week or two. It does not interfere with baby care or other regular activities and does not require medical treatment.

PPD is not baby blues and should not be dismissed as such. PPD can continue for a year or more, involve more severe mood swings, and interfere with a mother's ability to function physically and emotionally. It's critical for a mother experiencing PPD to seek medical attention.

Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety

As many as two-thirds of women who suffer from PPD also experience postpartum anxiety. This is characterized by intense feelings of anxiety, involving a racing heartbeat, stress and unhappiness, a sense of panic for no good reason, and blaming oneself for things that go wrong.

Postpartum depression vs. postpartum psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a serious but extremely rare condition with symptoms that include insomnia, hearing voices, and extreme paranoia.

It occurs in approximately 0.1 to 0.2 percent of births and is more prevalent in women with a personal or family history of bipolar disorder.

Postpartum psychosis is a medical emergency and requires immediate evaluation and treatment if symptoms appear.

(Video) Postpartum Depression: What You Need to Know

Who gets postpartum depression?


How long does postpartum depression last? (3)

It's difficult to determine a precise prevalence for PPD, since how and whether it is diagnosed varies significantly by population. The APA estimates that one in seven new mothers suffer from PPD, while the CDC reports one in eight. Some studies have found that as many as 20% of new mothers may experience PPD.

Researchers have found that this rate increased dramatically during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, with as many as one third of new mothers experiencing PPD during that time.

This increase is likely the result of a number of factors, including greater isolation before and after giving birth, giving birth without a partner in the room, concerns about contracting (or the baby contracting) Covid, and reduced access to mental health and other resources that were more widely available pre-pandemic.

Risk factors for postpartum depression

Numerous factors can make it more likely that a mother will experience PPD, including:

  1. A history of depression or anxiety

  2. Isolation or lack of a strong support system after birth

  3. Stressful life events, such as financial or family or relationship challenges

  4. Pregnancy complications, such as premature birth

  5. A history of abuse or other trauma

  6. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or thyroid conditions

  7. Sleep deprivation

Having one or more of these risk factors does not mean you will definitely develop PPD. However, being aware of the risk factors can help you be more vigilant about noticing symptoms and seeking help sooner.

Postpartum depression in dads

Having a baby can also be mentally and emotionally challenging for new dads! Paternal postpartum depression (PPPD) refers to the depression that new fathers can experience during their child's first year. It can even set in before the baby is born.

PPPD may impact as many as 25% of new fathers.

How long does postpartum depression last? (4)

The symptoms of PPPD are largely similar to those of PPD. Fathers might experience hopelessness, irritability, lack of interest in activities, difficulties with sleep or appetite, and trouble bonding with the new baby. New fathers may also be more likely to channel their stress into work or abuse alcohol or other substances.

Healthcare providers often do not screen for PPPD in the same way as PPD. Furthermore, fathers may be less likely to be open about their mental health struggles due to a real or perceived stigma around mental health struggles for fathers.

However, PPPD can also have a negative impact on child development, so it is essential to ask for help when needed. If you or your partner is experiencing any symptoms of PPPD, be sure to check in with your healthcare provider for evaluation.

How long postpartum depression lasts

When it begins

The onset of PPD varies by person, but it generally begins within the first few weeks after the baby is born.

However, it’s possible for PPD to commence at any time during the first year. Symptoms can gradually develop or appear suddenly.

As noted above, PPD can also begin during pregnancy, including after a miscarriage.

When it typically ends

The duration of PPD varies greatly depending on the individual based on the severity of symptoms, life circumstances, and type of treatment they receive.

Untreated postpartum depression can last a year or longer.

However, seeking treatment can significantly improve symptoms and outcomes and hasten recovery from PPD.

(Video) Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Effects of postpartum depression

On the mother

PPD can have serious consequences for the mother's physical and mental health. These consequences can include:

  1. Emotional effects, such as hopelessness, irritability, anxiety, guilt, and shame, which can negatively impact a mother's self-esteem and connection to her baby

  2. Physical effects, such as decreased energy and appetite, headaches, and sleeping issues

  3. Social and relationship issues, including withdrawing from social interactions and feelings of isolation, which can impact the mother's relationships with her partner, family, and friends

  4. Trouble performing ordinary parenting tasks and bonding with the baby, which can cause guilt and frustration and contribute to further depression

  5. Long-term mental health effects, including a greater risk of suffering from anxiety and depression in the future

On the child

PPD can also negatively impact multiple aspects of a baby's development. It is essential to remember that none of these consequences mean that a woman experiencing PPD is a bad mother—she is suffering from an illness and needs treatment and support.

Social and emotional development

Mothers suffering from PPD are less likely to respond effectively to their baby's cries or show them warmth and affection, which can both harm their ability to bond with their baby and have negative effects on the child's social and emotional development.

As a result of these early experiences, the child might have difficulty engaging with others, forming secure attachments, and self-regulating. They are more likely to exhibit emotional and behavioral problems, such as hyperactivity, aggression, and trouble with social interactions.

PPD can also increase the child's risk of developing depression and/or anxiety later in life.

Cognitive development

PPD can have a lasting impact on a child's brain development. A mother with PPD might not engage with her child as much or provide the types of stimulation, interaction, and communication that her child needs to learn.

As a result, her child could have language delays and may struggle with memory, attention, and problem-solving in their early years. They may even score lower on IQ tests and have learning difficulties.

Physical development

PPD can also indirectly impact the child's physical development. As a result of PPD, the mother may be too exhausted or depressed to feed her baby adequately. She may also struggle to maintain her own healthy diet, which affects her ability to provide adequate nutrition through breast milk.

This can have serious health consequences for children that can last into adulthood, including weight gain, reduced metabolism, and an increased risk of developing various chronic illnesses.

To learn more about how your child develops, see Holistic Approach to Child Development: The PROE Framework.

If you are concerned about your child's development, check out When Should You Be Concerned About Your Child's Development? and #MilestonesMatter: Don't Underestimate Developmental Monitoring.

Treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression

Screening for postpartum depression

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is a screening tool designed to help healthcare providers identify potential symptoms of maternal postpartum depression. The EPDS does not diagnose PPD, but is used to identify women who should receive additional evaluation and possibly treatment.

The EPDS is widely used and simple to administer. It consists of 10 self-reported questions that ask about the mother's feelings during the previous seven days. These questions are intended to assess multiple symptoms of depression, including sadness, anxiety, and trouble sleeping.

You can access the EPDS online here. Regardless of your score on the screening test, consult with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Screening for paternal postpartum depression

There is no comparable patient health questionnaire designed to screen for PPPD. Studies have evaluated the possibility of using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to screen new fathers and found that it requires an amendment of the cutoff score to be considered accurate.

Moreover, although pediatricians generally screen mothers for PPD during well child appointments during the first year, they often neglect to ask these same questions of fathers.

For these reasons, it is essential to be proactive in monitoring yourself or your partner for any symptoms of PPPD and to consult with your healthcare provider or your child's pediatrician if you have any concerns. PPPD can also have serious consequences for the entire family.

Diagnosing postpartum depression

There is no specific diagnostic test for PPD. Rather, it is usually diagnosed through a combination of physical exam, psychological evaluation, and review of the patient's medical history.

Typically, a woman is diagnosed with PPD if she is experiencing at least five of the symptoms of a major depressive disorder enumerated in the DSM-5, listed above, and these represent a change from her regular functioning.

These symptoms must arise during pregnancy or within one year following birth and persist for at least two weeks.

The healthcare provider will also account for other physical and mental health conditions and family, relationship, or other life factors that might contribute to PPD.

Just remember that PPD is a real illness and should be taken seriously. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms of PPD, it's important to promptly discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider. They will evaluate your symptoms, rule out other physical conditions that might cause similar symptoms to PPD (such as thyroid conditions), and provide any necessary referrals to a mental health professional.

Also keep in mind that other mental health conditions can affect both new and more experienced parents! You can experience depression and anxiety at any time, not just postpartum, so don't hesitate to seek help if you are struggling.

Treating postpartum depression


PPD is often treated with antidepressant medication, most commonly a type called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Although medication taken while breastfeeding will pass into the mother's breast milk, most antidepressant medications carry few risks for the baby. Your doctor will talk to you about all of the risks and benefits of taking a specific medication so that you can make an informed decision.

If you are experiencing postpartum anxiety, you may also need additional medication to treat those symptoms.

(Video) "Baby Blues" -- or Postpartum Depression?

If your doctor believes that medication is important in your case, do not hesitate to take it. Remember that your recovery is important for both your health and your family's well being.


Talk therapy can also be an important part of a treatment plan for PPD. Talking to a mental health provider can help you find positive ways to deal with negative feelings and stressful situations and set realistic goals and expectations for yourself.

Support groups can also be a lifesaver for parents suffering from PPD, although they should be an addition to—not a replacement for—medical care. Talking to other moms and dads who are experiencing the same struggles can combat feelings of guilt and shame, provide strategies for addressing symptoms, and help you feel less alone.


Don’t underestimate the value of exercise! Research has found exercise to have a positive role in reducing symptoms of PPD.

Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, a natural “feel-good” hormone that can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Exercise can also help you sleep better and combat the sleep issues often associated with PPD.

For the first weeks after birth try something gentle, like stroller walks with your baby so you can feel some sunshine on your face. Even small amounts of physical activity can make a big difference!

Consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen to be sure your body is physically ready for the activity and to discuss how it fits with your PPD care plan.

Postpartum self-care

When you are suffering from PPD, everything can feel overwhelming. So do your best to focus only on the essentials until you are feeling more like yourself.

Take good physical care of yourself. Try to get as much sleep as possible, including napping during the day if you can. Eat as healthily as possible with a new baby. If your job allows, try to take additional time off of work or ask for a reduced workload to ease your stress and give you more time to rest.

Accept help whenever it's offered. Your most important job is to feel better, so let family members and friends help with the baby, bring food, and run errands. And let your partner take on the majority of baby care tasks if possible.

And finally, if you are suffering from PPD, give yourself grace! PPD is a common condition and many other moms and dads struggle with the same feelings. There is no shame in taking medication, accepting help, and letting non-essential tasks slide for a while. Remember that taking care of yourself now will let you take care of your baby later.

How long does postpartum depression last? (5)

The Takeaway

No one should suffer from PPD in silence. Although it can be hard to take that first step if you are experiencing symptoms of PPD, know that you are not alone and it's okay to seek help in getting better. With guidance from a medical professional and support from loved ones, you can get through this challenging time.

So if you notice any symptoms of PPD, don't be afraid to reach out for help—the sooner the better!


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). 2013. American Psychiatric Association.

Carlberg M, Edhborg M, and Lindberg L. Paternal Perinatal Depression Assessed by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and the Gotland Male Depression Scale: Prevalence and Possible Risk Factors. Am J Mens Health. 2018 Jul; 12(4): 720–729. doi: 10.1177/1557988317749071.

Davé S1, Petersen I, Sherr L, Nazareth I. Incidence of maternal and paternal depression in primary care: a cohort study using a primary care database. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010 Nov;164(11):1038-44.

Fairbrother, et al. Perinatal anxiety disorder prevalence and incidence. J Affect Disord. 2016 Aug; 200:148-55.

Kim P, Swain JE. Sad dads: paternal postpartum depression. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2007 Feb;4(2):35-47.

Langan RC, Goodbred AJ. Identification and Management of Peripartum Depression. Am Fam Physician. 2016;93(10):852-858

Marconcin P, Peralta M, Gouveia ER, et al. Effects of Exercise during Pregnancy on Postpartum Depression: A Systematic Review of Meta-Analyses. Biology (Basel). 2021 Dec; 10(12): 1331. doi: 10.3390/biology10121331

Shuman, C.J., Peahl, A.F., Pareddy, N. et al. Postpartum depression and associated risk factors during the COVID-19 pandemic. BMC Res Notes 15, 102 (2022).

Slomian, J, Honvo G, Emonts P, et al. Consequences of maternal postpartum depression: A systematic review of maternal and infant outcomes. Womens Health (Lond). 2019; 15: 1745506519844044. doi: 10.1177/1745506519844044.

Wisner, KL, et al. Onset Timing, Thoughts of Self-harm, and Diagnoses in Postpartum Women With Screen-Positive Depression Findings. JAMA Psychiatry/ Vol. 70 (No. 5), May 2013.


How long does PPD typically last? ›

Most mothers experience symptoms within the first few weeks of giving birth (often within 6 weeks). But some people do not develop PPD symptoms until after 6 months. Women with PPD can experience symptoms for months or longer. In fact, studies have found that PDD can even last up to 3 years after birth.

How long is considered postpartum? ›

There is consensus that the postpartum period begins upon birth of the newborn. The end is less well defined, but is often considered the six to eight weeks after birth because the effects of pregnancy on many systems have largely returned to the prepregnancy state by this time.

What do 70% of new moms experience postpartum _____? ›

Up to 70 percent of all new mothers experience the “baby blues,” a short-lasting condition that does not interfere with daily activities and does not require medical attention. Symptoms of this emotional condition may include crying for no reason, irritability, restlessness, and anxiety.

How long are you emotional for after birth? ›

They are usually over by two weeks postpartum. You may feel tearful, impatient, irritable, restless or anxious. These periods are fairly short and don't last all day. The feelings come and then go away by themselves.

Will PPD resolve on its own? ›

Myth: PPD will go away on its own

In some cases, mental health conditions can get better with time. However, approximately 5% of those with PPD report that symptoms last for 3 years or more. The symptoms of PPD can be extremely distressing to a new parent, but with treatment, you can feel better much sooner.

Can PPD go away without medication? ›

The condition usually begins in the first week (one to four days) after delivery. Although the experience is unpleasant, the condition usually subsides within two weeks without treatment. The best thing you can do is find support and ask for help from friends, family or your partner.

What is the 40 day rule postpartum? ›

The 40-day period is called the lochial period, from 'lochia' the normal vaginal discharge of cell debris and blood after birth. The Bible says “40 days” for the vaginal discharge resulting from involution and can also be described as the red lochia, lasting 4–6 weeks [29].

What is the 5 5 5 rule postpartum? ›

Prepare for the 5-5-5 rule: 5 days in the bed, 5 days on the bed, 5 days near the bed. This gives you a solid two weeks of focused intentional rest. It also helps to get your priorities in order when it comes to those eager visitors. They will get to see the baby, but they don't get to make the rules.

What is the rule of 5 postpartum? ›

It suggests that you spend the first five days in bed: get up only to use the toilet and maybe grab a shower. Spend the next five days on your bed: spend most of your time napping or resting with your sweet babe, but feel free to move with baby to the couch or a comfy chair outside once or twice during the day.

What are the 4 phases of postpartum? ›

Postpartum Changes
  • Taking-In Phase.
  • Taking Hold Phase.
  • Letting Go Phase.
Apr 22, 2021

What are the three stages of partum? ›

Labour is divided into three stages: the dilation stage, expulsion stage and placental stage. The dilation (opening) stage is the longest, while the expulsion (pushing out) stage lasts 30-60 minutes, and the placental stage takes from a few minutes to up to 60 minutes.

What is the most severe form of postpartum? ›

Postpartum psychosis is the most severe form of postpartum psychiatric illness. It is a rare event that occurs in approximately 1 to 2 per 1000 women after childbirth. Its presentation is often dramatic, with onset of symptoms as early as the first 48 to 72 hours after delivery.

Is it normal to cry all the time after having a baby? ›

Crying a lot and feeling overwhelmed in the days after giving birth is common. If you've been feeling despondent and unable to cope for more than 10 days after giving birth, though, you should get checked out for postpartum depression.

Why is postpartum so hard? ›

Your hormones and body are attempting to return to [pre-pregnancy levels] and you have to be patient with your body. Some days will be harder than others. On those hard days, you need to give yourself a little more love.

Why do I cry so much after having a baby? ›

It is completely normal for new parents to feel overwhelmed with your new roles and responsibilities and tearful in the first few days after baby arrives (Shaw et al, 2006). Mums have another reason to cry. The levels of pregnancy hormones drop rapidly three to ten days after giving birth.

How do I get rid of PPD? ›

Antidepressants are often used to treat PPD. Two main types your doctor may prescribe include tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). If you're breast-feeding, you can work with your doctor to weigh the benefits and risks of taking medications.

What is mild PPD? ›

The baby blues

A mild depression is common to many new mothers (approximately 50 percent), and usually occurs immediately after birth. This condition is characterized by sudden mood swings that range from euphoria to intense sadness. It can last for only a few hours or as long as one to two weeks after delivery.

How do I fix PPD? ›

Here are four ways to help cope:
  1. Make healthy lifestyle choices. Eat well, get adequate rest and include physical activity, such as a walk with your baby, in your daily routine. ...
  2. Set realistic expectations. You are recovering and having to mother at the same time. ...
  3. Make time for yourself. ...
  4. Meditate.
Jun 10, 2020

What can trigger PPD? ›

During pregnancy, your body has higher levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. But in the first 24 hours after giving birth, these hormones quickly go back to their normal levels. This rapid drop in hormone levels may lead to PPD.

Can PPD be permanent? ›

Left untreated, post-partum depression can persist for months or years. Mothers with long-term undiagnosed post-partum depression may fail to connect with their babies, which can cause babies problems with eating and sleeping, as well as mental health and behavioral issues that can persist throughout their lifetime.

What is the first line treatment for PPD? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT involves speaking with a counselor or therapist about your thoughts, actions, and feelings. It's a first-choice treatment for PPD, either on its own or with medication.

Why wait 6 weeks postpartum? ›

Many health care providers recommend waiting 4 to 6 weeks after giving birth to give your body time to heal before you have sex. When you're ready for sex, be careful – you can get pregnant even before your period starts. This is because you may ovulate (release an egg) before you get your period again.

How often should you void postpartum? ›

Try to urinate at least every 2 to 3 hours. If you cannot urinate, tell your nurse.

How many months should a mother rest after giving birth? ›

Your postpartum recovery won't be just a few days. Fully recovering from pregnancy and childbirth can take months. While many women feel mostly recovered by 6-8 weeks, it may take longer than this to feel like yourself again.

What are the 7 Bs of postpartum assessment? ›

The nurse can remember the key points of a postpartum assessment by learning the acronym BUBBLE-LE, which stands for breasts, uterus, bladder, bowels, episiotomy, lower extremities, and emotions.

What is the safe motherhood protocol? ›

The Safe Motherhood Initiative focuses on the four leading causes of maternal death: maternal sepsis, obstetric hemorrhage (severe bleeding), venous thromboembolism (blood clots), and severe hypertension in pregnancy (high blood pressure).

What are the 5 P's maternity? ›

There are five essential factors that affect the process of labor and delivery. They are easily remembered as the five Ps (passenger, passage, powers, placenta, and psychology).

What is 555 after birth? ›

The 555 postpartum rule is a great guideline that suggests five days in bed, five days on the bed, and five days around the bed, adding up to 15 days of taking it easy and allowing yourself to recover gently during this time.

Can I use tampons 8 weeks after giving birth? ›

You should not use tampons until you've had your 6-week postnatal check. This is because you'll still have a wound where the placenta joined with the wall of your womb, and you may also have tears or cuts in or around your vagina.

What not to do until 6 weeks postpartum? ›

Don't put anything into the vagina

This usually occurs around your 6-week postpartum checkup. Why? Well, the first reason is because of the risk of infection. Your uterus is still physically recovering from birth — and if you had any vaginal repair, those areas will be healing, too.

What are the two types of postpartum? ›

The different types of postpartum depression are:

Postpartum Panic Disorder. Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What is the baby blues? ›

Baby blues are feelings of sadness that you may have in the first few days after having a baby. Up to 4 in 5 new parents (80 percent) have the baby blues. It can affect new parents of any race, age, income, culture or education level.

What are the psychological changes in postpartum? ›

Most new moms experience postpartum "baby blues" after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues usually begin within the first 2 to 3 days after delivery and may last for up to two weeks.

What happens 3 months postpartum? ›

Shah says, "Around two to three months postpartum, your hormones begin to reset to pre-pregnancy levels. However, cortisol levels often increase due to the many new stressors of having a young baby. And the lack of sleep contributes to decreased melatonin levels (and, as a result, serotonin).

What are three postpartum changes? ›

You may experience certain changes after delivery, including lochia (discharge), breast engorgement, discomfort in the perineal area, and constipation.

What are the levels of partum? ›

The postpartum period can be divided into three distinct stages; the initial or acute phase, 8–19 hours after childbirth; subacute postpartum period, which lasts two to six weeks, and the delayed postpartum period, which can last up to eight months.

When is the hardest time postpartum? ›

Most people find the first six to eight weeks to be the hardest with a new baby. And, although people may not openly discuss many of the challenges in these early weeks of parenthood (if at all), there are a number of common hurdles you may face at this time.

Which patient is most prone to postpartum depression? ›

The risk for postpartum depression is highest among first-time mothers, mothers younger than 25 years old and mothers of twins, according to a survey of more than 1.1 million moms worldwide.

What are the biggest risk factors for post partum depression? ›

Know the Risk Factors of Postpartum Depression

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, other risk factors include: A stressful life event during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth, such as job loss, death of a loved one, domestic violence, or personal illness.

How long can you have postpartum anxiety? ›

PPD/A is generally defined as depression or anxiety arising within the first 4-6 weeks after having a baby. But recent research is suggesting that this timeframe is unrealistic. PPD/A can begin before a baby is born and arise at any time within the first year after having a baby and possibly many years after that.

Does PPD get worse at night? ›

The fact that the house is quiet at night is really simplifying why postpartum anxiety is worse at night. And in reality, you may struggle to distract yourself from the thoughts that come along with postpartum anxiety during the daylight hours.

What are the hardest months after having a baby? ›

But many first-time parents find that after the first month of parenthood, it can actually get more difficult. This surprising truth is one reason many experts refer to a baby's first three months of life as the “fourth trimester.” If months two, three, and beyond are tougher than you expected, you're not alone.

What not to say to a postpartum mom? ›

Things you shouldn't say:
  • It's just baby blues; all new moms feel that way.
  • You just need a massage.
  • Stop worrying.
  • You're baby is healthy — you should be happy!
  • Everything will be fine.
May 18, 2016

How long do postpartum hormones last? ›

Estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones fluctuate profoundly for up to two months after you deliver.

How long after birth do you feel emotional? ›

Most women will experience symptoms three to five days after the birth, such as mood swings, teariness, feeling overwhelmed and anxiety. Often called the 'baby blues' It is thought the symptoms are caused by the rapidly changing hormone levels after the birth and the labour experience.

Can PPD last for over 2 years? ›

About 5% of women reported persistently high levels of postpartum depression symptoms for three years after giving birth. Longer screening periods after birth may be needed to help more women with postpartum depression get treatment.

What are the three stages of postpartum? ›

The postnatal or postpartum period is the period that occurs immediately after childbirth.
  • Acute Phase: 24 hours immediately following delivery.
  • Sub-Acute Phase: can last 2-6 weeks following delivery.
  • Late Phase: can last from 6 weeks - 6 months following delivery.

Can you have PPD after 10 months? ›

Delayed postpartum depression, also known as late-onset postpartum depression, can affect women up to 18 months after delivery. It can even appear later than that in some women, depending on the hormonal changes that occur after having a baby.

Can you have PPD after 3 months? ›

Postpartum depression is moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first 3 months after delivery.

Does PPD get worse over time? ›

If you don't get treatment for PPD, symptoms can get worse. While PPD is a serious condition, it can be treated with medication and counseling. Postpartum psychosis is a very serious mental illness that can affect new mothers. This illness can happen quickly, often within the first 3 months after childbirth.

How often does PPD go undiagnosed? ›

It is estimated that nearly 50% of mothers with postpartum depression are not diagnosed by a health professional. 80% of women with postpartum depression will achieve a full recovery.

What is the 5 5 5 rule for postpartum? ›

Prepare for the 5-5-5 rule: 5 days in the bed, 5 days on the bed, 5 days near the bed. This gives you a solid two weeks of focused intentional rest. It also helps to get your priorities in order when it comes to those eager visitors.

How long does it take to mentally recover from pregnancy? ›

The length of time for PPD recovery varies. For mild cases, some women recover in two weeks while others may take several months. Severe cases of PPD can last six months or longer.

When do postpartum hormones peak? ›

"By six months, postpartum hormonal changes in estrogen and progesterone should be reset to pre-pregnancy levels.

What does PPD look like? ›

You feel hopeless, sad, worthless, or alone all the time, and you cry often. You don't feel like you're doing a good job as a new mom. You're not bonding with your baby. You can't eat, sleep, or take care of your baby because of your overwhelming despair.

Can you relapse PPD? ›

Although PPD and PPP can be treated, there is risk of relapse/recurrence, and the disorders are associated with an increased risk of suicide, a common cause of death in connection to childbirth.

When does PPD typically start and end? ›

Most new moms experience postpartum "baby blues" after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues usually begin within the first 2 to 3 days after delivery and may last for up to two weeks.

When do baby blues end? ›

Most people experience baby blues 2 to 3 days after the baby is born. They can last up to 2 weeks. They usually go away on their own, and you don't need any treatment. If you have sad feelings that last longer than 2 weeks, tell your health care provider.


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