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Mother and baby on walkMother and baby on walk

What is post-natal depression?

Post-natal depression is a mood disorder which affects more than 1 in 10 women within a year of giving birth. It’s not limited to women it can also affect fathers and partners.

If you think you may be suffering from post-natal depression it’s important to get help as soon as possible.

Symptoms to look out for

It’s totally normal to feel a bit down and tearful in the first week after birth. This is often called ‘baby blues’. However, if your symptoms last longer you could be suffering with post-natal depression.

Signs that you may be depressed include:

  • a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
  • lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
  • lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
  • trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
  • difficulty bonding with your baby
  • withdrawing from contact with other people
  • problems concentrating and making decisions
  • frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby

Getting help for postnatal depression

Speak to your midwife, GP or your health visitor if you think you may be suffering with post-natal depression. Our health visitors have been trained to recognise post-natal depression and offer support and guidance. They can also refer you to health professionals and supportive groups.

If you think a partner, friend or relative may be suffering with post-natal depression talk to them about your concerns and encourage them to seek help. Remind them that this is common and that they don’t need to struggle alone.

Treatment for post-natal depression

There is support and help available for post-natal depression, including:

  • self-help: talking to family and friends, making time for yourself, resting, exercise, getting as much sleep as you can, eating a healthy diet and asking for and accepting help, doing things that you enjoy
  • psychological therapy: your GP may be able to refer you for a course of therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • antidepressants: your doctor can prescribe a medicine to help you with your symptoms
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