Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression or depressive disorder with peripartum onset, is a mood disorder associated with childbirth. Peripartum onset is defined as starting anytime during pregnancy or within the four weeks following delivery; however, it can begin as late as six months after giving birth. PPD is likely caused by hormonal changes and the response to the sudden change in one’s role and responsibilities. PPD can also affect men.
While most women experience up to two weeks of milder depressive symptoms than PPD following delivery, called postpartum blues or “baby blues,” postpartum depression should be suspected when symptoms are severe and last longer than two weeks.
Postnatal mood disorders are the most common complication of childbirth. Postpartum blues can occur in up to 80%, and PPD in approximately15%, of all women following delivery. It is estimated that up to 26% of new fathers develop this condition. Postpartum psychosis happens in 1 in every 1,000 pregnancies and usually requires hospitalization.