Postnatal Depression. What is it?

Approximately 1 in 7 women suffer from postnatal depression which has all the usual symptoms of major depression, along with often feeling indifference towards the baby.

Postnatal depression is a type of depression that many mothers experience after having a baby.

It’s important to seek help as soon as possible if you think you might be depressed, as your symptoms could last months or get worse and have a significant impact on you, your baby and your family.


It is very important to seek help as soon as possible if you feel depressed or low after having a baby. Managing a new baby can be difficult and tiring in normal circumstances but with the added complication of depression it can truly effect how you cope.

Cause and symptoms of it

Many women feel a bit down, tearful or anxious after giving birth and is so common that it’s considered normal. However, feelings like this shouldn’t be severe or last for more than a few days after giving birth.

If your symptoms are severe, last longer or start later, you could have postnatal depression. Postnatal depression can start any time in the first year after giving birth.

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 or yourself

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


It is important to seek professional help and postnatal depression support as soon as possible as early treatment for postnatal depression can help resolve the problem.

If left untreated the symptoms can last for a significant length of time and become more severe. Treatment can include talking therapies, medication and support groups.

With the right support, which can include self-help strategies and therapy, most women make a full recovery