Postnatal depression

Other Names:
Maternal blues
Postpartum neurotic depression
Postpartum psychosis
Motherhood sadness
Baby blues
Maternal post-natal trauma
Puerperal psychosis

Although many new mothers are euphoric after delivering a child, some suffer mild to severe depression. Recent studies assign postnatal depression three classifications: the maternal blues, postnatal depression or postpartum neurotic depression, and postpartum psychosis. The maternal blues is a sadness lasting between a few hours to a few days. Postnatal depression or postpartum neurotic depression, a more disabling condition, is marked by mood swings, interrupted sleep and hostility. Postpartum psychosis, the most severe condition, is marked by the loss of realistic thinking in which a mother may suffer paranoia, nightmares, hallucinations and thoughts of harming herself or her baby.

One of the causes may be a large influx of hormones in the mother's body on the 4th or 5th day after labour.


According to a 1992 British study, the maternal blues affect an estimated 50 to 80% of women. Postnatal depression affects an estimated 10% of women. In a study of 54,000 new mothers, 120 were admitted to psychiatric clinics. Postpartum psychosis affects an estimated 1 mother in 1,000. Although treatment for postpartum psychosis is effective, there is a 20 to 30% chance the psychosis will return with the next birth.

Broader Problems:
Mental depression
Related Problems:
Premenstrual syndrome
Reduced By:
Electroshock therapy
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST