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What Is Postpartum Depression?


You may have heard of Major Depressive Disorder.  However, postpartum depression also exists.  This article will explore what postpartum depression is.  It will also explore the different symptoms associated with postpartum depression.

What Is Postpartum Depression?

According to, postpartum depression in the DSM-5 is classified as Bipolar Disorder or Depression with Peripartum Onset.  According to this article, a person with postpartum depression has to meet the criteria for a major depressive episode.  Postpartum depression is diagnosed when depression hits before or after the birth of the child.

What Are The Symptoms Associated With Postpartum Depression?

According to, the following represent the symptoms associated with Postpartum Depression:

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Problems with appetite (loss of appetite or eating more than usual)
  • Problems with sleep (problems getting to sleep or sleeping too much)
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Intense irritability or irrational anger
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, or inadequacy
  • Difficulty in thinking clearly, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Severe anxiety or panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

According to this article, between 3 to 6 percent of women will experience major depressive symptoms during pregnancy or weeks or months after delivery.   It has also been suggested that women who have a history of bipolar disorder or depression have a higher likelihood of developing mood symptoms during or after pregnancy.

In addition, according to this article, 50 percent of major depressive episodes with postpartum features begin prior to delivery.  These episodes are referred to as peripartum episodes, according to the DSM-5.


To end this article, this article has discussed the disorder in the DSM-5 called postpartum depression.  It is important to remember that a person with postpartum depression has to meet the criteria for a major depressive episode to meet the criteria for Bipolar Disorder or Depression with Peripartum Onset.  In this article, a variety of symptoms have also been mentioned categorizing Bipolar Disorder or Depression with Peripartum Onset.  According to, they are quite similar to the category for Major Depressive Disorder with the addition of thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, difficulty bonding with your baby, in addition to severe anxiety or panic attacks.




What Is Postpartum Depression?

Lauren Walters

My name is Lauren Walters. I am currently heading into my final semester of graduate school for Mental Health Counseling in the Spring of 2016. Through my own experiences with mental illness, I love to inspire others through my writings and reassure them that they can live healthy, productive lives, despite mental illness. I hope you enjoy my articles. Feel free to comment. I will be sure to respond to you questions and/or comments in a prompt manner. Enjoy!

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APA Reference
Walters, L. (2017). What Is Postpartum Depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Jul 2017
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