Treating Postpartum Depression

Treatment for postpartum depression (PPD) may include psychotherapy, medication or a combination of both. It is crucial to seek professional help. Start with your primary care provider or even your child’s pediatrician, who can refer you to a mental health professional.

Be sure to let any healthcare provider know if you’re breastfeeding, since antidepressants or other medication could cross into your breast milk and affect your nursing baby. Talk about the risks of medication with your provider to determine together whether and which medication is right for you.

It can also help to:

  • Find a friend or loved one to confide in
  • Get help with childcare, chores and errands
  • Designate time every day to do something for yourself
  • Keep a journal
  • Find and join a support group for mothers with PPD

Rest assured, postpartum depression is not your fault; you aren’t “going crazy” and you aren’t alone. Many other mothers have been diagnosed with PPD.

Women with previous PPD, depression unrelated to pregnancy, severe premenstrual syndrome or a strained relationship with their partner are at higher risk for developing PPD, as are those who don’t have many relatives or friends to lean on. Difficulties during pregnancy, a difficult delivery or premature birth may also raise the risk for PPD.

The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline—1-833-943-5746 (1-833-9-HELP4MOMS)—offers free, confidential, 24/7 support and resources in English and Spanish for all pregnancy and postpartum mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression. You can text or talk with mental health counselors at this hotline; it doesn’t replace your healthcare provider’s advice, but does provide additional help.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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