Postpartum depression is the most common complication of childbirth, with 13% of childbearing parents affected in the first year after giving birth [1]. Most do not receive treatment for postpartum mood disorders.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for postpartum depression include stressful life events and a history of mood disorders, in addition to other known factors related to depression [1]. African-American and Hispanic women experience postpartum depressive more often than white women. Transgender men and other gender nonconforming people have difficulty finding high quality healthcare in pregnancy, which increases their risk of mental health distress [2].


Postpartum depression is rarely treated. Studies have shown that women are unsure of how to treat depression during and after pregnancy [3]. Raising awareness with physicians and promoting collaboration between medical, psychiatric, and other wellness professionals is an great way to help patients work through that confusion.

Recent research has looked at potential solutions to pregnancy-related mental health disorders:

  • Postpartum Support International provides resources to mothers in English and Spanish as well as trainings for healthcare professionals.
  • Dr. Katherine Wisner of Northwestern University recently published a study showing that a telephone-based depression care management system, connecting patients to their doctors and information regarding other resources, lessened symptoms of mood disorders [4].
  • Drs. Hoffkling, Obedin-Maliver, and Sevelius published guidelines for physicians caring for gender nonconforming patients around pregnancy [2].


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a helpful questionnaire available here if you believe you may be experiencing depression.



1.         Wisner, K.L., B.L. Parry, and C.M. Piontek, Clinical practice. Postpartum depression. N Engl J Med, 2002. 347(3): p. 194-9.

2.         Hoffkling, A., J. Obedin-Maliver, and J. Sevelius, From erasure to opportunity: a qualitative study of the experiences of transgender men around pregnancy and recommendations for providers. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 2017. 17(Suppl 2): p. 332.

3.         Battle, C.L., et al., Perinatal antidepressant use: understanding women's preferences and concerns. J Psychiatr Pract, 2013. 19(6): p. 443-53.

4.         Wisner, K.L., et al., Telephone-Based Depression Care Management for Postpartum Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Clin Psychiatry, 2017. 78(9): p. 1369-1375.



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