Maternal Depression

We all feel sad at times, but the feelings typically subside within a few days. Depression can last weeks or months at a time interfering with a person’s daily routine. As many as 1 in 9 women experience depression before, during, or after pregnancy. Depression may not feel the same for everyone, but is common and treatable.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Lasting sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Feelings of irritability or restlessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Loss of energy
  • Problems concentrating, recalling details and making decisions
  • Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains that do not get better with treatment

Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after having a baby. Feelings associated with postpartum depression are more intense and last longer than “baby blues”, a term used to describe the worry, sadness, and tiredness many women experience after having a baby.

The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms of depression, but may also include:

  • Crying more often than usual
  • Feelings of anger
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Extreme worry about your baby or feeling distant from your baby
  • Worrying that you will hurt your baby
  • Feeling guilty about not being a good parent or doubting your ability to care for your baby

Depression is treatable and most people get better with treatment. If you think you may be depressed, the first step to seeking treatment is to talk to your health care provider. You can ask your health care provider for a referral to a mental health professional or visit CDC’s Resources(http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/depression/resources.htm) to find help in your area. See CDC's depression treatment(http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/depression/treatments.htm) to learn about seeking treatment for depression.