Postpartum Depression & Mood Disorders

The birth of a child can be a joyous and exciting time, but following childbirth, the adjustment can also be challenging. Mothers might commonly experience what is often referred to as "the baby blues," mood swings that are a result of high hormonal fluctuations that typically occur during and immediately after childbirth.

The beginning of postpartum blues most often occurs three to five days after delivery, and should subside as hormone levels stabilize and the symptoms generally do not last for more than a few weeks. If a woman, however experiences mood swings or feelings of depression for more than two weeks after childbirth, it could be indicative of a more serious condition.

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety (PPD/A) affects 1 in 7 women with symptoms that range from mild to severe. It is the most common complication of childbirth, but it is temporary and treatable.

If you are pregnant or recently had a baby and are experiencing any of the below symptoms for more than two weeks, please contact our Access Center at 1.800.300.0628 for a referral to a specialist or support services.

  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Anxiety all or most of the time or panic attacks
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Sadness/crying frequently
  • Loss of pleasure/interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Excessive irritability and/or racing, scary thoughts
  • Fear of being left alone with the baby, or that you are not a good enough mother

The RWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health Network cares about your mental health as well as your physical health during your pregnancy and after the delivery of your baby. Our specialists are focused on helping women understand that this is not their fault and you are not alone. We offer free support programs as well as evidence-based psychotherapy.

Treatment is often delivered through a combination of approaches which may include individual therapy, medication, support group therapy or all three.

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder Resource