• Melissa Cowl

Avoiding Postpartum Mood Disorders, Part II/III

Updated: May 14

A Three Part Series by Christy Medeiros

Part Two


It Is Not All About Depression


Postpartum Blues

  • anxiety

  • tearfulness

  • irritability

  • insomnia

  • fearfulness

  • restlessness

  • emotional instability

  • hormonal changes after delivery

  • 85% of new moms

  • 3-4 days after delivery

  • resolved within 2 weeks of delivery


Postpartum OCD

  • repetitive, upsetting and unwanted thoughts or mental images (obsessions)

  • need to do certain things over and over (compulsions) to reduce the anxiety

  • timeline varies


Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PPTSD is often caused by a traumatic or frightening childbirth, and symptoms may include flashbacks of the trauma with feelings of anxiety and the need to avoid things related to that event. Time line varies. Subsequent pregnancies may trigger this (aqain).



Postpartum Anxiety

  • panic attacks

  • shortness of breath

  • chest pain

  • dizziness

  • a feeling of losing control

  • numbness and tingling

  • timeline may vary


Postpartum Depression

  • anxiety

  • sadness

  • extreme irritability

  • difficulty sleeping

  • panic attacks

  • obsessive-compulsive behaviour

  • intrusive thoughts (possibly of harming the baby)

  • history of depression

  • history of postpartum depression

  • stressful events within the last year

  • weak support system

  • social challenges (abusive relationship, financial challenges, etc.)

  • 10-15% of new moms

  • 2 weeks to within 6 months after delivery

  • approximately 6 months, with treatment


Postpartum Psychosis

- (intermittent) confusion and cognitive impairment

- coming in and out of consciousness

- extremely disorganized behaviour

- mania

- hallucinations or delusions

- suicidal thoughts

- history of bipolar disorder

- 0.1-0.2% (1-2 in 1000) of new moms

- sudden, rapid and dramatic

- within days, or weeks of delivery

- requires treatment

- 2 to 12 weeks for the worst symptoms

- 6 to 12 months for full recovery



If you notice any symptoms of Postpartum Mood Disorders in yourself or your partner, please reach out to your care provider. Helpful information and a list of resources can be found at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website.


Continue on to Part Three


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