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Contact Info:

Program Coordinator
UW Department of Psychiatry
6001 Research Park Blvd.
Madison, WI 53719-1179
(608) 263-5000

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About Postpartum Depression


Postpartum depression (PPD) is prevalent, recognizable and treatable. It is different from the Postpartum Blues, which resolves by about two weeks. Depression in the postpartum period occurs in 10-15% of all new mothers (about 1 out of 8), with rates up to twice as high for women living in poverty. Postpartum depression can occur any time during the first year after the birth of a baby, although symptoms usually begin in the first few months. Postpartum depression can affect how a woman feels about herself, and how she feels about parenting. It is important to address symptoms of postpartum depression directly, as research has shown that postpartum depression left untreated may last 6 months or longer.

Recognition and treatment are important components of improving both the mother’s quality of life and that of her baby and family. With treatment, it is shown that the impact of PPD on babies may be minimal. But, if the depression remains untreated and becomes a chronic, recurrent condition, it can impact the mother-infant attachment relationship and can contribute to delays in the child’s cognitive and language development, behavioral problems or other psychological issues.

The risk for postpartum depression may be increased by:
  • Symptoms of depression or anxiety during pregnancy
  • Personal history of depression
  • Family history of depression
  • Low social support or marital conflict
  • Physical health problems in the mother or infant
  • Significant loss or life stress in the last year


  • Women with postpartum depression may experience:
  • Depressed or tearful mood
  • Less pleasure or interest in activities they usually enjoy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feeling very tired but unable to sleep when they want to
  • Lack of energy and difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Guilt about feeling disconnected from their baby or not having the energy to play with or respond to their baby
  • Feeling overwhelmed or anxious
  • Worry about something happening to their baby
  • Thoughts of harming themselves or their baby


  • Coping with postpartum depression:
  • Recognize that the depression won’t “just go away”. It can be a difficult step, but reaching out for help is important.
  • Contact a professional who has experience in evaluation and treatment of postpartum depression. A careful mental health evaluation can help in assessing what treatment options are best for you.
  • Identify a person in your life who will listen and provide emotional support.
  • Be kind to yourself – eat well, sleep, rest and exercise.
  • Do something “just for you” every day.
  • Set limits and say no when you are overwhelmed.
  • Let go of things that don’t need to be done.


  • If you, or someone you know, are experiencing symptoms of Postpartum Depression, please call the UW Postpartum Depression Treatment Program at (608) 263-5000


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