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What are Perinatal (Postpartum) Mood Disorders?

1 in 7 moms

Did you know... Postpartum Depression(PPD) is one of the most common medical complications a mother faces during her pregnancy and after her delivery affecting as many as 1 in 7 moms.


This unique disorder affects women of any cultural background, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, number of children, and income levels. 

    Because PMD isn't the same for every woman it's important to know the symptoms:

  • feeling sad, hopeless, empty, or overwhelmed

  • crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason

  • feeling worried or overly anxious

  • moodiness, restlessness, or irritability

  • anger or rage

  • persistent doubt about your ability to care for your baby

  • physical aches and pains

  • changes in appetite

  • lack of sleep or oversleeping

  • difficulty concentrating

  • loss of interest in things that are usually enjoyable

  • avoiding friends and family

  • having trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment with your baby

Baby blues are feelings of sadness a woman may have in the first few days after having a baby. Baby blues are also called postpartum blues. "Postpartum" means the time after giving birth. About 4 in 5 new moms (80 percent) have baby blues. 

Baby blues can happen 2 to 3 days after you have your baby and can last up to 2 weeks. They usually go away on their own, and you don’t need any treatment. If you have sad feelings that last longer than 2 weeks, tell your health care provider.

If you have the baby blues, you may:

  • Feel sad and cry a lot

  • Feel moody or cranky

  • Have trouble sleeping, eating or making decisions

  • Feel overwhelmed and that you can’t do a good job of taking care of your baby


If you feel scared or out of control, tell your provider. If you’re worried about hurting yourself or your baby, call 911.


Postpartum Depression is a serious mental illness that involves the brain and affects your behavior and physical health. If you have depression, then sad, flat, or empty feelings don’t go away and can interfere with your day-to-day life. You might feel unconnected to your baby, as if you are not the baby’s mother, or you might not love or care for the baby. These feelings can be mild to severe.



Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder typically comes on rapidly, sometimes within a week of giving birth. Research indicates that postpartum OCD most often involves scary obsessions related to harm befalling the newborn infant (in contrast to obsessions having to do with contamination, paperwork mistakes, order and symmetry, and hoarding). In some instances, sufferers report obsessions having to do with accidental harm, while in others the obsessions involve unwanted thoughts or ideas of intentionally harming the newborn.

What about postpartum psychosis?

Women with postpartum psychosis tend to experience their violent thoughts. The thoughts are usually part of delusions; lines of thinking in which the person holds strongly to bizarre beliefs, such as the idea that someone (or the government) is after them, or that they have magical powers that other people don’t have. So, thoughts to harm the baby might be perceived as “a good idea.” Because people with psychotic disorders sometimes act in accord with their delusions, postpartum psychosis poses very serious risks and often requires hospitalization to ensure the safety of the mother than infant. 

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