Welcoming a new baby into the world is one
of life’s happiest occasion. It also comes with many challenges; sleepless nights, the uncertainties of parenting and — for approximately 70 percent of new mothers —
a short -term bout of the “baby blues.” Caused by changes in hormone levels after giving birth, symptoms of the baby blues include crying spells, anxiety, mood swings, and difficulty sleeping. Fortunately, these symptoms usually last for a week or two and go away on their own and without treatment.

However, an estimated 1 in 7 women develop a more serious form of depression known as post-partum or peripartum depression . Peripartum depression (now preferred to the term post-partum because it refers to depression that can begin during pregnancy) is much more serious than the baby blues. It is emo tionally and physically debilitating and may continue for months or even years.

The good news is that like other forms of depression, peripartum depression is treatable and success rates are high. Between 80 and 90 percent of pregnant women and new mothers are helped by medications, talk therapy, or a combination of the two. There are also some alternative treatments available.

While it’s often hard to ask for help it’s important to receive treatment. Motherhood is not meant to be done in isolation and maternal mental health is vital to the overall health of mothers, babies, and families.

Want to read more?
Check out these books by Jane Honikman,
a peripartum depression survivor and founder of Postpartum Support I nternational.