Postpartum Disorders

Following childbirth, other known as "postpartum", women may experience postpartum disorders that can affect their mental health. The high hormonal changes and fluctuations that occur during and after childbirth could cause mothers to feel intense mood swings called "the baby blues" which affects 80% of mothers.1 If symptoms persist for more than a couple weeks, then it could potentially be something more severe such as a postpartum disorder. 


Types of Postpartum Disorders

Postpartum Depression, or PPD, is a mood disorder in women shortly after childbirth. Mothers with PPD experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that can affect the woman's ability to care for herself or for others. Click here to learn more about postpartum depression.  

Signs and symptoms for PPD are the same as those for clinical depression.

In women with postpartum depression, symptoms usually begin within the first four weeks of giving birth, although some women report decreasing mood in the late third trimester of pregnancy.

Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is one of the most misunderstood perinatal disorders. Women with OCD tend to attribute the onset or worsening of their symptoms during pregnancy or postpartum. Click here to learn more about postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder 

Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is PTSD associated with pregnancy. Approximately 9% of women experience postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth.2

Postpartum Bipolar Disorder (Peripartum Bipolar Disorder) is characterized by mood episodes—mania, hypomania or depression—that can begin during pregnancy or in the weeks after childbirth. Early recognition of women with bipolar disorder in pregnancy is critical as the risk of postpartum depression is high. Working with a mental health clinician to use evidence-based therapy, appropriate medication, and bright light therapy is needed to treat bipolar disorder. Read about treatment for peripartum bipolar disorder. Learn more here.  Read a personal story about coping with postpartum bipolar disorder here. 

New! ADAA's new infographic in partnership with Postpartum Society International: Postpartum Depression & Anxiety.

Learn more about postpartum and mental health from Postpartum Support International


Postpartum disorders are temporary and treatable with professional help. If you or someone you know may be suffering from a mental illness, notify your healthcare provider or Find a Therapist

Read about 7 Ways to Cope with Postpartum Depression at

ADAA Resources

Other Resources 

Trending Articles

  1. NIMH. (2018). Postpartum Depression Facts.
  2. Postpartum Support International. Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
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