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Postpartum Depression

Recent research has shown that women who have complications during pregnancy, such as HG, have a greater risk of postpartum depression (PPD). Women with HG are often more sensitive to hormonal changes, which may also be a reason that PPD is more prevalent among these women. The longer and more severe her symptoms, the greater her risk. Factors such as thyroid changes also may cause PPD and should be evaluated by a health professional postpartum. Any woman with HG should be aware of the symptoms of PPD and make sure those around her are as well. Self-diagnosis is very difficult. Early intervention is often most helpful. Safe treatment is available, even if a mother is breastfeeding.

Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression (PPD)

  • History of prior postpartum depression
  • History of depression or bipolar disorder during or before pregnancy
  • History of severe PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Family history of depression or bipolar disorder
  • Recent stressful events such as marital or partner discord, loss of loved one, family illness
  • Poor social support, adverse life events, marital instability, and ambivalence towards the pregnancy

Adapted from NWHIC, Postpartum Depression & A Case of Perinatal Depression.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression (PPD)

  • Exhaustion, insomnia
  • Trouble motivating oneself to do normal everyday tasks
  • Strong feelings of sadness, anxiety, panic, or irritability
  • Emotional stress which interferes with taking care of self or family
  • Diminished interest in self-grooming (dressing, bathing, fixing hair)
  • Sleeping too much or inability to sleep when tired
  • Loss of pleasure or interest in things which used to be fun or interesting
  • Hopelessness, tearfulness
  • Trouble concentrating, making decisions, remembering things  
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Obsessions, frightening recurring thoughts
  • Overly intense worries about the baby
  • Lack of interest in the new baby 
  • Self doubt, low self-esteem
  • Diminished interest in food (or compulsive overeating)
  • Feeling distance from or lack of love for baby and/or partner
  • Thoughts of harming self and/or baby

Adapted from NWHIC & Postpartum Education for Parents.

PPD Support and Information

Offsite Research:

Disturbances of humour in postpartum: our experience.
D'Alfonso A, Lovenitti P, Casacchia M, Carta G.
Department of Gynecology and Oncology, University of L'Aquila, Italy.
Clinical & Experimental Obstetrics & Gynecology 2002;29(3):207-11

There was also a strong correlation with the premenstrual syndrome and with hyperemesis in the first trimester. On the contrary, there was no correlation with familiarity and socio-demographic characteristics. The data allow us to conclude that any pregnant woman can develop medium or strong symptoms of depression thus calling for great attention to be paid to the psychological dynamics of birth.

Obstetric, somatic, and demographic risk factors for postpartum depressive symptoms.
Josefsson A, Angelsioo L, Berg G, Ekstrom CM, Gunnervik C, Nordin C, Sydsjo G.
Department of Health and Environment, Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Linkoping, Linkoping, Sweden. (e-mail: ann.josefsson@lio.se)
Obstetrics & Gynecology 2002 Feb;99(2):223-8

The strongest risk factors for postpartum depressive symptoms were sick leave during pregnancy and a high number of visits to the antenatal care clinic. Complications during pregnancy, such as hyperemesis, premature contractions, and psychiatric disorder were more common in the postpartum depressed group of women.


Updated on: Aug. 17, 2019

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