How Long Can Postpartum Depression Last & What Can You Do About It?

How Long Can Postpartum Depression Last In Women?
Mental Health

How Long Can Postpartum Depression Last & What Can You Do About It?

Apr 01, 2023

Bringing the baby into the world is no less than fighting a battle. All the women out there are warriors. But, having mood changes, anxiety, and depression within the first two weeks is common and can be a sign of postpartum or postnatal depression. According to the National Institute of Health, around 5% of women experience the symptoms of postpartum depression in the first three months after giving birth to a child. 

As per medical experts, this type of depression can last longer than expected if not treated on time. In the United States of America, every 1 out of 7 women suffers from postnatal depression in the first 2-3 weeks of post-pregnancy. The question is how long can postpartum depression last and how to control it. Whether you have been through it or have someone, this post will prove a life-saver. So, without wasting time anymore, let's get started.

Definition Of Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression in women

Postnatal depression causes emotional disorders in women after the delivery of a child. Most new mothers experience a change in mood, including anxiety, within the first few weeks of post-pregnancy. Postpartum depression (PPD) can also result in tearful eyes, unusual eating habits, crying episodes, and more. 

However, it is difficult to tell the exact symptoms of this depression as it affects women in different stages. Some women experience it during pregnancy that lasts longer even after pregnancy. It can also turn into a severe mental disorder that also affects babies.

Types of Postpartum Depression

Based on the mood disorder, there are different types of postpartum depression. After giving birth to a child, you might face normal to severe mood swings that categorize mainly into two types.

Baby Blues Postpartum

Baby blues is a common type of postpartum that affects 50-70% of women during post-pregnancy. During this, you might experience prolonged bouts of crying and stress. Usually, women suffer from the baby blues in the first week after giving birth to the baby. If this condition is not treated on time, you can also affect the newborn baby.

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a rare type of depression that affects 1 in 1000 women and may affect during pregnancy. In this type of perinatal depression, you might experience stress, hopelessness, insomnia, hallucination, rapid speech, and more. Various experts believe this condition may become severe if they do not get medical attention on time.

How Do I Know If I Have Postpartum Depression?

Many pregnant women often ask how long can postpartum depression last after pregnancy. Their biggest confusion is differentiating the symptoms of PPD from the common emotional disorder symptoms. In most cases, women are often considered normal depression postnatal depression. That is why it is vital to know the early symptoms of postpartum depression in women:

  • The feeling of sadness, worry, and emptiness
  • Uncontrolled crying episodes
  • Tear in eyes unconditionally
  • Difficulty in taking care of baby or yourself
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Sleepless nights
  • Unusual eating habits
  • Thoughts of harming yourself
  • Feeling of guilt
  • Avoiding the social activity
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • A frequent change in weight
  • Upset stomach

These symptoms make it difficult for moms to take care of the baby properly. You may feel it difficult to breastfeed or make a bond with your child. Apart from women who have gone through pregnancy, postnatal depression can also affect after miscarriage. Since the symptoms of PPD can be different and can turn severe in no time, medical assistance on time can control this situation.

What Exactly Caused Postpartum Depression In Women?

Various factors cause postpartum depression in women after giving birth to a child. One of them is the hormonal changes caused during pregnancy which can include the risk factors that mainly cause PPD. Even after giving birth to a child, women experience a lower amount of progesterone and estrogen hormones in the body. As a result, a change in mood also causes unusual eating habits or disorders. In such a situation, doctors suggest eating disorder tests to diagnose it and choose the right treatment.

Another cause behind postnatal depression is the physical change that comes after becoming a mother. No doubt parenting a newborn child is challenging and often results in sleeplessness, stress, and anxiety that can cause postpartum depression in women. The previous bipolar disorder symptoms can also lead to physical and emotional changes.

How Long Can Postpartum Depression last?

There is no fixed period at which postpartum depression in women lasts. The signs of postnatal vary with age and can last even years if not treated on time. According to the Harvard Review of Psychiatry, PPD can last an average of 6-months. To identify the exact duration of postnatal depression, researchers study women who have given birth to a child. 

During this, 12% of women experience severe symptoms of women in the next three weeks. It is also noticed that the persistent signs of PPD often decrease over time. More than 38% of women fell into this category and experienced ongoing depression from 6 months to 1 year. There are 5% of women who have complained about postpartum depression even after three years of giving birth to a child. 

The study concluded that PPD could last an average of 6 months when treated on time. However, ongoing depression is common even after years of going through pregnancy. It is advised that a woman who had recently had a baby experience persistent feelings of emptiness, anxiety, and mood swing for more than two weeks should seek medical assistance.

Can Postpartum Depression Be Permanent?

Usually, postpartum depression can affect women in different phases. In the early phase or stage, the symptoms can be chronic or severe and usually affect temporarily. In most cases, women experience PPD in the first 2-3 weeks, which can last from months to years. Various treatments available can control depression after pregnancy and are effective in the long run. So, postpartum depression is not permanent and can last with the help of the right therapy.

Risk Factors Associated With Postpartum Depression In Women

The risk factor associated with postpartum depression is common and doesn't show you are a bad mother or have any serious issues. Different factors can vary in every woman and should be considered while diagnosing PPD. Here are the risk factors that can increase the risk of perinatal depression in women:

  • Depression during pregnancy
  • A family history of bipolar disorder
  • Mental illness
  • A past traumatic event such as domestic violence
  • Lack of support from partner
  • Previous miscarriage 
  • Drug and alcohol use disorder
  • A complicated pregnancy or delivery

It is vital to consider these risk factors that can cause postpartum depression in women.

How To Diagnose Postpartum Depression?

The screening process usually diagnoses postpartum depression after two to six months of post-pregnancy. During the diagnosis process, your doctor might ask you about your current mental health and the complexities you had during pregnancy. The medications you are taking are also considered by medical experts while diagnosing PPD. A questionnaire is also designed to identify the risk involved in developing postnatal depression in women.

Can Postpartum Depression Affect My Baby?

Various research shows that postpartum depression can affect the baby. When you go through the first month after the delivery, you might have trouble bonding with a child. As a result, your newborn baby may have issues sleeping, feeding, and getting comfortable in an environment. It directly impacts the child's behavior and can cause a developmental disorder. 

As a mother, you must provide proper care to yourself and your baby during the first few weeks of post-pregnancy. The right therapy and medical assistance can help you control the mental disorder.

Possible Treatments For Postpartum Depression

The treatment for postpartum depression depends on the type of symptoms. Your doctor might perform the diagnosis to confirm the type of perinatal depression and then prescribe the therapy and medications. Here are the possible treatments for postpartum depression:


This type of therapy works on controlling your emotions with the help of sessions. During psychotherapy, an expert might ask you questions and the symptoms you are facing. A psychotherapist provides the consultation, suggests various ways to cope with the feelings, and sets realistic goals.


Doctors prescribe antidepressants in the case when postpartum depression becomes severe. However, it is advised to take antidepressants if you are breastfeeding. The ingredients of these medications enter the milk and can cause side effects to the baby. So if you have experienced the symptoms of postpartum depression in the first few weeks after delivery, avoid taking antidepressants.

Hormone Therapy

After pregnancy, sex hormone-like estrogen suddenly drops after pregnancy, which may cause postpartum depression. To balance the level of hormones, your expert might suggest hormone therapy per your body's requirements. 

What Happens If Postpartum Depression Is Not Treated On Time?

If you are not getting treatment on time, it may affect you and your newborn baby. With time, mild symptoms of perinatal depression may turn severe and mentally disturb you for a long time. Some of the problems you might face in the absence of treatment for postpartum depression are as follow:

  • Unable to make decisions
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself and your baby
  • Depression for a longer time
  • Mood swings
  • Low level of energy

Tips On Managing The Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression

Undoubtedly, postpartum depression is dangerous for yourself and the baby and can affect you mentally for a long time. However, you can manage the symptoms of this type of depression by taking simple steps. 

If you are in the primary stages and experience early symptoms, you can easily manage it by taking simple steps. We research some tested and proven tips you can adapt to manage perinatal depression:

  • Do exercise daily
  • Get in touch with a psychiatrist
  • Share your thoughts with your partner or other family members
  • Perform meditation regularly
  • Avoid taking antidepressants without consulting with a doctor
  • Limit meeting with people in the first few weeks after delivery
  • Take rest and avoid using smartphones
  • Eat healthy food 

Wrap Up

Postpartum depression is a mental problem that affects women after giving birth to a baby. In the first few weeks or months, you might face symptoms like unintentional tears, stress, and thoughts of harming yourself. Most people ask how long postpartum depression lasts and its side effects for a longer time. 

On average, perinatal depression may last for six months, depending on the symptoms. There are various therapies doctors recommend to control this type of depression. However, it is advised to go for a diagnostic test and only take the prescribed medication to avoid any side effects. Postpartum depression may also affect your baby in the long run and hamper development. You should be careful and reach out to the doctor in the early stage and get the right treatment as soon as possible.

We hope you know about postpartum depression and how long it can stay without treatment. If you find this blog helpful, please share it with other women who might suffer from the baby blues postpartum and need this information. Don't forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for insightful information and tips on various health problems.

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Can Postpartum Depression Be Permanent?

Postpartum depression(PPD) can last years if not treated on time. There are higher chances of getting it permanently when you have other serious health problems.

Is It Normal Having Mood Swings After Childbirth?

Perinatal depression after the delivery of a child is normal and affects 70% of women. During this, you might have anxiety and mood swings that do not allow you to make a bond with your baby.

What Are The Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression?

Some of the common symptoms of postpartum depression are as follows:

  • Anxiety

  • Feeling of overwhelmed

  • Thoughts of hurting yourself

  • Sudden anger issues

  • Stress

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