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Postpartum depression: causes, symptoms and treatment

Postpartum depression: causes, symptoms and treatment

January 25, 2022

Having a child is one of the most rewarding experiences that human beings can experience. But nevertheless, Some mothers experience what is known as postpartum depression .

Scientific studies show that between 10 and 15% of progenitors may suffer from this disorder, as the College of Nursing of Valencia could verify.

Luckily, patients with this condition have a good prognosis thanks to the work of psychologists.

In the following lines we will delve into this phenomenon and we will delve into its causes, symptoms and treatment.

Types of depression

It is common to suffer some slump from time to time, because life has good and bad times. In fact, some experiences can affect us with such intensity that it costs us to return to normal. Feeling sad for a fact that has occurred is normal, the problem happens when suffering becomes too important part of our life and affects our day to day, negatively influencing our well-being. .

In these cases we talk about depression, and according to different manuals of mental disorders, depressive disorders can be classified in different ways.

  • Major depression: It is the most serious type of depression. There are two classes: single episode and recurrent.
  • Dysthymia: known as mild depression.
  • Manic depression : appears in bipolar disorder.
  • Seasonal depressive disorder: occurs during a stage of the year. For example, in winter.
  • Postpartum depression : some mothers, especially first-timers, may suffer from this disorder.
If you want to know more about the different types of depression, you can read our article: "Are there several types of depression?"

What is postpartum depression?

Having a child with the person we love is one of the great gifts of life. But, on occasion, this great experience can bring with it postpartum depression. The first weeks after childbirth can be a stage of vulnerability for the mother, who can experience a variety of emotions, not all of them positive.

At times, this feeling can appear without any explanation. The anxiety, the sadness, the insomnia, the fatigue, the irritability, the excessive tiredness, the nervousness, the pessimism , can affect the first weeks or months of motherhood.


One of the most salient features of this type of depression is that it occurs after childbirth, and can last up to a year after the birth of the child. But what symptoms do people with postpartum depression experience?

  • Irritability : Irritability can be present in mothers with postpartum depression, who may feel agitated with their family, partner and even their new child.
  • Sadness: the most common symptom. The person experiences a negative mood, wants to cry and may experience low self-esteem.
  • Insomnia: problems sleeping and difficulty falling asleep are frequent.
  • Anxiety: people with postpartum depression experience high levels of anxiety.
  • Lack of sexual appetite : Demotivation due to sex may appear as a consequence of postpartum depression.
  • Loss of appetite : As in other types of depression, people with this disorder tend to have less desire to eat, especially in the early stages. However, some individuals eat sweets and excess fats to alleviate psychological distress.
  • Fatigue : postpartum depression causes the person to feel tired, exhausted and fatigued, both mentally and physically.


Postpartum depression can appear for different reasons. They are the following:

  • Difficulty adapting to changes. For example, when the mother does not have time for herself.
  • Changes in social and / or labor relations.
  • Concerns related to your ability to be a good mother
  • Lack of sleep
  • Irrational expectations about being a mother, especially in the first months.


Postpartum depression can appear especially in first-time mothers, and one in ten progenitors experience it. Luckily, the psychological treatment works very well so the patient usually has a good prognosis.

Many patients go to the family doctor for help, but the ideal is to go to a psychological center such as those that appear on our list "The 10 best psychology and psychotherapy clinics". For those people who do not wish or can not attend a clinic, they can benefit from the help of a psychologist such as those mentioned in our ranking: "The 6 best online therapy clinics".

The importance of psychotherapy

The ideal is to perform psychotherapy sessions with an expert in Perinatal Psychology , which is a branch of psychology oriented to the period between conception, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and parenting of a child.

Generally, psychologists usually use cognitive-behavioral techniques, which according to research have a large success rate.

  • Perhaps you are interested in going deeper into this content. You can know more in our article: "The 10 most used cognitive-behavioral techniques"

New therapeutic models for the treatment of this pathology

However, in recent years, new types of psychotherapy have begun to be used, and the results also positive.

Cognitive therapy based on Mindfulness or therapy of acceptance and commitment are some of the most used, and both belong to third generation therapy, also known as contextual therapies.

If you want to know more about these types of therapies, you can read our articles:

  • Cognitive Therapy based on Mindfulness: what is it?
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): principles and characteristics

Postpartum Depression: What You Need to Know (January 2022).

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