Treatment of postpartum depression

Postpartum depression It is a mood disorder that can affect women after giving birth. It can be moderate to intense, and is the result of a combination of physical and emotional factors.

Mothers who suffer from postpartum depression usually have feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety and fatigue. This emotional and physical state It makes it difficult to perform the daily tasks of caring for the newborn and themselves.

What causes postpartum depression?

When women give birth, the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop quickly. These abrupt changes in hormone levels can cause changes in mood. In addition, many women can not rest enough to fully recover from childbirth.

The constant lack of sleep and rest, can generate physical discomfort and exhaustion. Both factors can contribute to the onset of postpartum depression.

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?

The symptoms of postpartum depression can vary from woman to woman; however, they generally cause sadness, irritability and anxiety.

Postpartum depression occurs in almost 15 percent of deliveries. Even though, can start a little earlier, the most usual is after the baby is born. But it usually starts between a week and a month after delivery.

The most common symptoms that can be experienced include the following:

  • Sadness and crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason.
  • Anxiety and irritation.
  • To sleep excessively or not to be able to sleep, even when the baby sleeps.
  • Lack of concentration and loss of interest in activities that were pleasant.
  • Eat too much or too little.
  • Isolate yourself from friends and family.
  • Having trouble creating an emotional bond with the baby. As well as doubt the ability to care.

Since the symptoms may vary from one woman to another, The doctor can determine if they are due to a postpartum depression or some other factor.

Are there risk factors for postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression can affect any woman, regardless of age, race or economic situation. But nevertheless, Some women may have a higher risk of postpartum depression.

There may be an increased risk of postpartum depression in women who have one or more of the following risk factor's:

  • Symptoms of depression during or after a previous pregnancy.
  • History of depression or bipolar disorder at another stage of his life. As well as a family history of depression or other mental illness.
  • Suffering stressful situations during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth. As the existence of medical complications during childbirth such as premature birth or the baby is born with health problems.
  • Lack of emotional support of your husband, partner, family or friends.

Read also: How to take care of our body after giving birth


To treat postpartum depression, it may be necessary to combine some medications with psychotherapy. The professional will be responsible for determining which is the best option to control it.

To overcome a postpartum depression, you can use a pharmacological treatment, psychotherapy, or both. It will be the doctor who values ​​which is the best in each case.

Among the treatments to choose from are:


The sessions with the specialist can be of two types. Both types of psychotherapy have proved to be particularly effective in the treatment of postpartum depression:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): that helps people recognize and change their negative thoughts and behaviors.
  • Interpersonal therapy (TIP): that helps people to understand and live with problematic personal relationships.

Antidepressant drugs

Antidepressant medications they act on brain chemicals that are involved in the regulation of mood.

These types of medications are generally considered safe to use during breastfeeding. However, the specialist must assess the risks and benefits that these medications involve both the mother and her baby.

In addition to the treatments, Family and environment support, as well as one's attitude, are also very important to overcome a postpartum depression.

I could also interest you: Antidepressants and their contraindications

Other measures

There are other measures that can contribute to overcome postpartum depression are:

  • Get enough sleep: it is very important for physical and mental health. It is necessary to try to conciliate the sleep of the mother and the baby, so that when the child rests, the mother can also rest and recover.
  • Have free time: As much as possible, try to have a leisure time to be alone, with your partner, or with friends.

Without treatment, postpartum depression can last for months or years. In addition to affecting the mother's health, it can interfere with her ability to relate and take care of her baby.