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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Maternal and Child Health

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Depression During & After Pregnancy: A Resource for Women, Their Families, & Friends

Perinatal Depression Booklet (PDF - 24 pages)

La Depresión Durante y Despues del Embarazo (PDF - 24 paginas)

For many mothers, the experience of pregnancy and childbirth is often followed by sadness, fear, anxiety, and difficulty making decisions. Many women have difficulty finding the energy to care for themselves, their infants, and their families. Some even have feelings about harming themselves and their children.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, there are two important things you should know.

You are not alone.
Help is near.

Depression during or after pregnancy refers to a broad range of physical and emotional struggles that many women face. You may have heard this called the “Baby Blues,” Postpartum Depression, Maternal Depression, Prenatal Depression, Postnatal Depression, or Perinatal Depression. In this Web site, we will call it Perinatal Depression.

Perinatal Depression can be mild, moderate or severe. It can occur during pregnancy or within a year after the end of your pregnancy. Without treatment, symptoms may last a few weeks, months, or even years. In rare cases, the symptoms are severe and indicate potential danger to the mother and baby. In all cases, help is available.
Did things change after you became pregnant? Are things different than you expected as a new mother? Are you tired, anxious, sad, and confused? This Web site will begin to explain the possible causes for your feelings—and more importantly— how to find the help you need.

Image of woman with her head in her hands.

I have trouble eating and sleeping. I feel lonely, sad, and don’t have the energy to get things done. Sometimes I don’t even want to hold my baby. If this is supposed to be the happiest time of my life, why does everything feel so wrong?