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The Truth About Postpartum Depression Recovery

Updated: May 16

Pregnancy and childbirth bring with you an abundance of joy, but also some unique challenges. One of those challenges is the possibility of postpartum depression, which can commence anytime after birth in both mothers and fathers.

If you’re concerned about postpartum depression, or are just interested in learning more about it, keep reading as we describe the symptoms of postpartum depression, discuss how long it may last, and set out the ways that you can get the help you might need.

In this article:

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression symptoms

Postpartum depression vs. "baby blues"

Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety

Postpartum depression vs. postpartum psychosis

Who gets postpartum depression?


Risk factors for postpartum depression

Postpartum depression in dads

How long postpartum depression lasts

When it begins

When it typically ends

Effects of postpartum depression

On the mother

On the child

Social and emotional development

Cognitive development

Physical development

Treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression

Screening for postpartum depression

Screening for paternal postpartum depression

Diagnosing postpartum depression

Treating postpartum depression




Postpartum self-care

The Takeaway

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD) generally refers to depression that women can experience as a result of giving birth. Paternal postpartum depression is also common and is discussed further below.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) refers to depression caused by pregnancy and/or birth as "peripartum depression" to emphasize that symptoms can arise both during pregnancy or after the baby is born. You might also see it referred to as "perinatal depression." There is no significant difference between these terms and they are usually used interchangeably.

For purposes of this article, we will say "postpartum depression" or PPD.

Postpartum depression symptoms

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) used by medical professionals identifies PPD as a major depressive disorder, which are characterized by the following symptoms: