Woman who looks very sad because of postpartum depression

Pregnancy and the childbirth can create a new mix of emotions — such as excitement and wonder. But new mothers may also experience less joyful feelings, like postpartum depression, mood swings, sadness and anxiety.

If you're experiencing unexpected mood changes or excessive worrying after delivery, or have concerns about bonding with your child, you may have pregnancy-related depression, a common and treatable condition.

Did you know that 1 in 5 women have serious depression or anxiety during or after pregnancy?

At University of Maryland Medical Center, our women's mental health specialists can help you reconnect with your baby and get back to feeling like yourself.

Our team will work to diagnose your form of depression, which may include:

  • Baby blues, a very common form of mood swings, which usually resolves within two weeks of delivery
  • Postpartum depression, including feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, irritability and disconnection from loved ones that lasts longer than a few weeks
  • Depression and anxiety related to miscarriages, pregnancy-related trauma or infertility
  • Depression and anxiety before, during and after pregnancy

Call 410-328-5881, option 2, to make an appointment today.

Depression During Pregnancy

Depression during pregnancy is a common, serious condition. It is not a part of who you are, and it is not your fault. Depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy are treatable.

Most conditions are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and can be triggered by hormonal changes that occur during and after pregnancy. Depression during pregnancy can and should be treated.

It's important to seek professional advice if you have not been feeling like yourself. Untreated mental health problems not only make your daily life difficult but can affect your unborn baby and other family members, too.

Postpartum Depression

Following childbirth, women experience an immediate drop in hormonal levels that may contribute to depression. Both first-time mothers and those who have previously given birth may experience postpartum depression. For many women, postpartum depression does not include sadness, but may feel more like restlessness, dissatisfaction, guilt, worrying or short temper.

Baby Blues

This temporary condition is not a form of postpartum depression but affects up to 80 percent of new mothers. Symptoms include moodiness, increased levels of emotion and crying, worry over the care of the baby, anxiety of new routines and lack of sleep. However, most of these symptoms go away in two weeks.

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

This more serious long-term condition interferes with your ability to care for yourself and your baby. You may have trouble forming a bond or even feel like you're not able to care for the baby.

Symptoms are more severe than the fluctuating emotions of the baby blues or the normal worries of a new mother, and they last for more than two weeks. These symptoms typically do not resolve without treatment.

You may experience:

  • Depression or extreme sadness
  • Mood swings, short temper or excessive crying
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Severe anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or baby
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Inability to concentrate

If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your medical provider or your child's pediatrician, who can help you clarify the diagnosis and refer you for the right treatment.

Our team will take into account a variety of factors, such as your medical history, family history, prior episodes of depression or anxiety, and use of alcohol and drugs to determine the next steps to an effective treatment plan.

Postpartum Depression Treatment

Our team will work with you to determine the best combination of treatments, which may include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Parent/child therapies
  • Support groups
  • Medication, including those that can be taken during breast feeding
  • Education for partners and family
  • Referrals to mental health care for children

Our team approach will help you understand what's going on with your body and mind and will be with you and your baby every step of the way.

Postpartum Psychosis

This extreme mood disorder, occurring in only about 0.2% of births, has a sudden onset, usually in the first two weeks postpartum.

It is an urgent condition with potentially life-threatening consequences. Symptoms include:

  • Thoughts or attempts to harm yourself or the baby
  • Hallucinations
  • Disturbing thoughts
  • Paranoia
  • Disorientation
  • Lost sense of reality

Postpartum psychosis may arise from bipolar and psychotic disorders. We can provide a full assessment and treatments to help you feel better as quickly as possible.

Make an Appointment

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 410-328-6091.