Postpartum Depression

Updated September 27th, 2018

Many different feelings come with being a new parent. They can range from happiness and joy to unexpected sadness and feeling overwhelmed. 

In the first few weeks after giving birth about 75% of new mothers have mood swings, worry a lot and cry easily. They may feel weepy, overwhelmed, irritable, tired and have trouble sleeping. This is normal and is caused by changing hormones and adjusting to parenting. These “baby blues” usually begin a few days after birth and often go away on their own by two weeks. If they don’t go away you may have postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression affects one out of eight women and one out of 10 men. It can also affect parents who have adopted. Postpartum depression is caused by physical and emotional factors and can start anytime in the first year after the birth.

Often other people will be the first to notice that something isn’t quite right and express concern. Only a qualified healthcare provider can make a diagnosis.

How do I know if I have postpartum depression?

If you have been experiencing any of the following for two weeks or more, talk to a health care provider:

  • Strong feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Can’t stop crying
  • Constant fatigue, even after resting
  • Trouble falling asleep or wanting to sleep all the time
  • Difficulty concentrating or making simple decisions
  • Loss of interest in activities and relationships you usually enjoy
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Often irritable or angry
  • Difficult to care for self or your baby
  • Resenting your baby
  • Feeling hopeless, anxious, trapped, overwhelmed, out-of-control or worthless
  • Little or no interest or pleasure in your baby
  • Worrying a lot about your baby’s health or safety
  • Afraid to be alone with your baby
  • Scary thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Postpartum depression can be treated.  There is help.

If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, or are in crisis:

Call:

If you need more information and help finding resources call Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200

Tips for coping with postpartum depression

  • Ask friends and family for support
  • Take care of yourself by:
    • napping when baby naps
    • eating nourishing foods
    • drinking lots of water
    • going for walks
  • Using controlled breathing or meditating to help you relax
  • Practicing mindfulness

How to support someone with postpartum depression:

  • Encourage her or him to talk to a health care provider as soon as possible
  • Go with her or him to appointments
  • Talk about how he or she is feeling
  • Reassure them
  • Ask family and friends for understanding or support
  • Taking care of the baby so your partner can rest
  • Help out with the daily house work and chores
  • Do skin to skin contact with baby

Note: Some new parents will experience postpartum depression, anxiety or have both at the same time.

References and for more information:

Postpartum Depression Association of Manitoba
Canadian Mental Health Association, Postpartum Depression
Pacific Postpartum Support Society
Postpartum Support International