Skip to main content
Find a DoctorGet Care Now
Skip to main content
Search icon magnifying glass







Recognize the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Updated May 08, 2024
post partum

Postpartum depression affects one in five women and one in 10 men, though many patients may struggle to recognize the signs. A stigma surrounding depression and anxiety may hold some new parents back from seeking help.

“Patients often feel that pregnancy and parenthood should come naturally and leave you feeling happy and fulfilled. Society rarely discusses or highlights the challenges that can come with becoming a parent,” said Kim Kapinos, licensed clinical social worker with Yale New Haven Hospital’s Maternal Wellness Program.

Common symptoms associated with postpartum depression can include:

  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Feeling angry
  • Loss of energy
  • Low self esteem
  • Guilt
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of interest

Symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety can develop up to a year after giving birth. Patients with a history of depression prior to pregnancy may be at a higher risk of postpartum depression. It can also manifest in patients who have a history of losses, infertility, or previous trauma. However, patients with no prior history of depression can experience symptoms.

Baby blues v. postpartum depression

Many parents may be familiar with the “baby blues,” when one feels teary and emotional after birth. That is also incredibly common but is not considered to be depression.

If symptoms persist longer than two weeks, that could be a sign of postpartum depression and patients should seek help. Anyone experiencing signs of depression during pregnancy should tell their obstetrician.

Treatments for postpartum depression

If untreated, postpartum depression can worsen over time, sometimes lasting for years. Common treatments can include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, couples therapy, medication and working with support groups.

The Maternal Wellness Program is unique in that licensed clinical social workers work collaboratively with OBGYNs and other community providers to treat patients while focusing on all the various aspects of a patient’s life that may impact their wellbeing.

Just like with any other mental health condition, the length of treatment and course of action will depend on each patient’s individual needs. The first step for everyone is to understand that if they’re not feeling like themselves, it’s OK to get help.

“I want moms to know that they are not alone in their experiences of depression or anxiety and that their symptoms do not define them as a parent,” said Kapinos. “Hormonal changes, a predisposition to depression or anxiety, or experiencing a traumatic birth can result in perinatal depression or anxiety which can be treated with help.”

Learn more about the Yale New Haven Hospital Maternal Wellness Program.