February 21, 2020

Post-Partum Depression

Let’s talk about postpartum depression.  Although we are pediatricians, we feel, as a practice, that it is important that we care for parents as well.   During your visits at MVP we want you to feel comfortable bringing up not only your concerns about your child, but also any concerns you have about yourself during this major life change.  


Postpartum depression can present in a variety of ways and can present up to a year after you have your child.  Women (and/or sometimes their partners) may worry excessively, suffer insomnia, low appetite, physical symptoms or panic attacks, have persistently low mood, feel overwhelmed, cry frequently, feel irritable or apathetic.  


The rates of postpartum and pregnancy-related mood disorders are higher than many people realize:

  • Roughly 80% of new mothers’ experience “normal” baby blues in the first few weeks after a baby arrives.
  • 1 in 7 experiences serious levels of anxiety or depression during pregnancy or postpartum in the first 3 months following the birth of a child. If you follow these women for a year postpartum the rate increases to 1 in 5!
  • 1 to 2 out of 1000 women suffer from postpartum psychosis
  • 1 in 10 fathers experience postpartum depression
  • (above three statistics are cited from: Wisner KL et al JAMA Psychiatry, 2013; Paulson et al, JAMA, 2010)
  • Suicide is one of the three leading cause of maternal death around the world. Bleeding and hypertension were number 1 and 2. The peak risk for suicide in this study was 7 to 9 months postpartum.  Dell & O’Brien, 2003


As you can see postpartum depression is both common and serious.  Reading the above list I think most of us have experienced a few of the above symptoms.  Please do not hesitate to reach out if you feel you are suffering from postpartum depression.   We are here for you and can provide you with referrals to therapists, support groups and psychiatrists.  


Here are a few of our favorite resources:


The Motherhood Center



Seleni Institute



Lesley Michaels- psychiatrist who is trained in both adult and child psychiatry with a special interest in reproductive and postpartum psychiatry



Ariella Sofer- psychologist with expertise in postpartum depression


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