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About Postpartum Depression

PPD is a mood disorder affecting pregnant and new mothers. Some of the more common symptoms of PPD include: persistent and profound feelings of sadness and anxiety; difficulty performing daily tasks including caring for the baby; impaired bonding and attachment between mother and child; and feelings of despair or hopelessness.

Depressed mothers receive less pre-natal care, use more alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, eat less nutritionally, and have more pre-term births. Newborns of depressed mothers often have low birth-weights and disturbed bonding with their mothers. As the child develops, depression, hyperactivity, anxiety, lower IQ, and health problems may result.

  • 15-20% of new mothers experience postpartum depression (PPD), the #1 complication of childbirth in the US.
  • PPD affects 30% of adolescent deliveries.
  • Each year, more than 950,000 American women suffer from PPD.
  • 1 in 10 women will develop serious, long-lasting PPD.
  • PPD frequently lasts for 6 months or longer. If untreated, it can continue for over 1 year.
  • Mothers who experience PPD with one pregnancy have a 30% risk of experiencing it with subsequent children.
  • If untreated, many women will go on to have recurrent psychiatric disorders years after the postpartum depression resolves.
  • Children of mothers with postpartum depression have a higher risk of behavioral problems and show lower scores on intellectual testing.
  • The cognitive and emotional disturbances that can affect children born to mothers with PPD often persist well into their school years.

PPD is a serious disorder that takes several lives and devastates countless families every year, yet more than 95 percent of women go undiagnosed and untreated. To find out more about PPD, please go the Postpartum Depression Alliance of Illinois website at www.PPDIL.org, The Jennifer Mudd Houghtaling Postpartum Depression Foundation at www.ppdchicago.org, or Postpartum Support International at www.postpartum.net.