Postpartum depression (PPD) is the most common medical complication of childbirth
PPD can affect any woman during pregnancy or after childbirth.
Having a baby changes your body and your life in ways that are hard to predict. Feeling sad, moody, or tired is normal in the first few weeks after childbirth. PPD is different.
PPD symptoms can last longer than the “baby blues,” and can interfere with your daily activities. Common symptoms include anxiety, irritability, and nagging self-doubt about your mothering skills. For a list of symptoms, click here.
It is estimated that PPD affects approximately 10% to 20% of women giving birth globally. In the US, estimates of new mothers identified with PPD each year vary by state from 8% to 20% with an overall average of 11.5%.
PPD symptoms can develop over time.
Onset of PPD symptoms may occur during pregnancy or after delivery. Opinions of experts vary as to the timing of onset of symptoms in PPD after delivery. For example:
- According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), PPD symptoms can begin during pregnancy or in the 4 weeks following childbirth
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), World Health Organization (WHO), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that PPD symptoms can occur during pregnancy and up to 1 year after giving birth
Without proper screening, up to half of PPD cases may go undiagnosed.
- Feelings of shame, fear, embarrassment, or guilt on the part of the mother
- Reluctance by mothers to bring up their true feelings for fear of being seen as an unfit parent
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