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All You Need to Know About Postpartum Mood Disorders

Many women experience depressive symptoms during the postpartum period, ranging from mild postpartum blues to significant mood disorders such as postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis, which affect women’s mental health. Typical types of postpartum disorders include postpartum depression, baby blues, postpartum OCD, and Postpartum anxiety.

In 2020, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America pointed out that approximately 80% of mothers have experienced suffering from different postpartum mood disorders worldwide. Normally, postpartum mood disorder begins within the first two to three days after delivery, and it may last for up two weeks.

Typical types of Postpartum mood disorders

Postpartum Depression (PPD)

PPD is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in some women after giving birth. And PPD is a form of major depression that begins within four weeks after delivery. About 30 to 70% percent experience symptoms for one year or even longer. The statistics from world organization shows that 1 in 7 women may experience postpartum depression in the year after giving birth.

Common Symptoms:

  • Sadness
  • Loss of interest in things compared with before
  • Tiredness
  • Insomnia or having difficulties of sleep
  • Feeling restless
  • Feeling worthless or excessive guilty
  • Difficulty concentrating or indecisiveness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or a suicide plan

According to the clinical study, PPD happens for many reasons. postpartum depression is associated with reduced mother-infant bonding, as well as increased martial stress and divorce.

  • A history of depression prior to becoming pregnant or during pregnancy
  • Ambivalence about the pregnancy
  • Age time of pregnancy
  • Family history of mood disorders
  • Going through an extremely stressful event, like divorce, job loss or health issues
  • Living alone
  • Limited social support
  • Having a child with special needs or health problems

Baby Blues

Baby blues are feeling s of sadness that you may have in the first few days after having a baby. Approximately 80% mothers have the baby blues. Most of women start to have baby blues 2 to 3 days after delivery, and it can last 2 weeks. Compared to PPD, baby blues usually go away on their own.


  • Easily feeling sad, emotional, angry and moody
  • Crying not without specific reasons
  • Have trouble sleeping, eating and making decisions
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Loss appetite
  • Fell lonely or cut off from friends and family

Hormone changes that happen after birth may cause the baby blues. After delivery, certain amount of the hormones estrogen and progesterone suddenly decreases, causing mood swings. Furthermore, emotional issues are also factors cause of the baby blues. Mothers may feel nervous, anxious about taking care baby. And mother easily worry about how new life will be changed since giving the birth. These thoughts can make mothers feel sad or depressed.

Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (POCD)

This is one of the most misunderstood perinatal disorders. Mothers with OCD tend to attribute the onset or worsening of their symptoms during pregnancy or postpartum. According to statistics, approximately 3-5% of new mothers will experience symptoms of POCD.


  • Unwanted images of hurting the baby such as dropping or throwing him/her
  • Concerns about accidentally causing the baby harm through carelessness
  • Fear that the baby will develop a serious disease
  • Hypervigilance in protecting the infant
  • Fear of being left alone with the infant
  • A sense of horror about the obsessions

There is no exact cause of POCD. Its onset has a lot to do with the woman’s mental health history and other elements in her life. Many women who had ongoing OCD before childbirth find that having a baby provides more uncertainties and responsibilities that triggers their anxiety.

Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Is defined by mood episodes ---- mania, hypomania, or depression that can begin during pregnancy or in the weeks after delivery. Early recognition of women with bipolar disorder in pregnancy is critical as the risk of postpartum depression is high.


  • Always feel sad
  • Unusually upbeat attitude
  • Very talkative (compared with before)
  • Restlessness
  • Always crying
  • Insomnia
  • Thoughts of suicide

Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder. It is also called birth trauma.


  • Always have flashbacks
  • Nightmare and having difficulties sleep
  • Irritability or aggressive behavior
  • Always try to avoid feelings or memories
  • Losing trust in friends or family

People with postpartum mood disorders often face barriers to being diagnosed and receiving treatment. Women who are suffering it should ask help for your doctors as soon as possible. There are two ways for treatments: medication and therapy.


According to clinical studies, antidepressants have direct effects on brain or other side effect. As they alter the chemicals to adjust mood. And the side effects include fatigue, decreased sex drive, and dizziness. However, some antidepressants are safe to take if you are breastfeeding, but others may not be (be sure taking medicine under suggestions from your doctor).

Therapy specifically for postpartum mood disorders:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is well known for its high efficiency in treating anxiety and depression including OCD. CBT can work with the understanding that the way we think affects the way feel, and treatments attach importance to helping mothers control, evaluate, balance their thoughts then they feel down or negative, which focus to change their underlying beliefs, differentiate among realistic, false and imagined threats, and explore more helpful and positive perspectives. Furthermore, CBT is able to help mothers develop strategies so that they feel better with mood and stress management.

clare&me provides cognitive behavioral based exercises and content focusing on symptoms of anxiety. Feel free to try clare&me the help for your self-help.


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