Postnatal depression

Pregnancy and looking after a baby create huge changes in a woman’s life, and for some women, these changes can trigger depression. For women who have had depression in the past, pregnancy or childbirth can trigger a new episode. For others, it will be the first time they have had depression. Antenatal depression occurs during pregnancy and postnatal depression occurs after having a baby.

Feeling ashamed or inadequate can sometimes stop women from seeking help. But keep in mind that you are not alone if you have postnatal depression — it affects around 16% of new mothers.

See a checklist for postnatal depression to find out whether you have symptoms that are common in women with depression and anxiety during pregnancy and in the year following the birth of a child.

Telling someone is the first step to getting better

Mother with baby

Postnatal depression affects around 16% of new mothers.
Image: Mika Heittola/Shutterstock.com

If you feel like you are not coping, or you’re worried you might have postnatal depression, talk to your general practitioner (GP), other health professional, or a supportive family member or friend. There is help out there for you.

Psychological therapies, counselling and support services are often helpful. Antidepressants can also be useful, but talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the risks and benefits of these medicines if you are breastfeeding.

For more information about pre- and postnatal depression and anxiety, see the beyondblue website.

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