Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a mood disorder associated with childbirth. While most women experience a brief period of worry or low mood following delivery, postpartum depression should be suspected when symptoms are severe and last over two weeks. PPD is officially called “depressive disorder with peripartum onset.” Peripartum onset is defined as starting anytime during pregnancy or within the four weeks following delivery.
PPD must be distinguished from postpartum blues, commonly known as “baby blues,” which is a transient postpartum mood disorder characterized by milder depressive symptoms than PPD and which resolve within two weeks.
Postnatal mood disorders are the most common complication of childbirth. Postpartum blues can occur in up to 80%, and PPD in approximately 15%, of all women following delivery. PPD can also affect men, and it is estimated that up to 26% of new fathers develop this condition.