Post Natal Depression

Postnatal depression (PND) is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby. It usually affects mothers after giving birth although it can also affect fathers and partners (though this is much less common). Research suggests that up to 1 in 10 new mothers suffer from PND. 

Symptoms of Postnatal Depression

Many women feel a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week or two after giving birth. This is often called the “baby blues” and is so common within the first couple weeks that it’s considered normal.

However, if your symptoms last longer than a couple weeks, you could be suffering from PND.

Signs that you or someone you know might be depressed include:

  • a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood;
  • lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world;
  • lack of energy and feeling tired all the time;
  • trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day;
  • difficulty bonding with your baby;
  • withdrawing from contact with other people;
  • problems concentrating and making decisions;
  • frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby.

Many women don’t realise they have PND, because it can develop gradually.

Getting help

Speak to your GP or health visitor if you think you may be depressed or suffering from PND. Many health visitors have been trained to recognise PND and have techniques that can help. If they can’t help, they’ll know someone in your area who can, such as a maternal health nurse, which will have resources that may be effective.

These include:

  • Psychological therapy – your GP may be able to recommend a psychologist – a referral will heavily subsidise your consultations. 
  • Self-help – things you can try yourself include: talking to your family and friends about your feelings and what they can do to help; making time for yourself to do things you enjoy; resting whenever you get the chance and getting as much sleep as you can at night; exercising regularly; eating a healthy diet;
  • Antidepressant medications – these may be recommended if your depression is more severe or other treatments haven’t helped; your doctor can prescribe a medicine that’s safe to take while breastfeeding. 


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