Last updated:

April 12, 2024


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Pregnancy and Postpartum Psychological Problems: Insights, Types, and Treatments

Understand pregnancy-related mood disorders, discover treatment options, and find support through online therapy for women's emotional well-being during and after childbirth.


While pregnancy and giving birth can be beautiful events in a couple's life, many women also face unanticipated emotional difficulties during these times.  One such challenge is postpartum blues, a condition that affects numerous women in India and around the world. We will explore the facts around mood problems associated with pregnancy, the various forms of psychological difficulties in the postpartum period, and available treatments in this informative guide.

Pregnancy can result in mood changes that can affect women after childbirth. It's crucial to differentiate between "baby blues," a short-lived condition marked by mild mood swings and anxiety, and postpartum depression, which is more severe and long-lasting.

Common Types of Postpartum Mental Conditions

1. Post-Partum Blues or Baby Blues: Occurring during the gestation period or usually within the first two weeks after childbirth, baby blues are characterized by fleeting symptoms and abrupt mood swings, like tearfulness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, lack of energy, appetite loss, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed—especially in relation to infant-caregiver tasks. In India between fifty to sixty percent of women experience the postpartum blues, globally this percentage becomes fifty to eighty. Symptoms usually start on the third postpartum day. These symptoms typically resolve on their own within a few days to a couple of weeks. Occasionally, however,  postpartum mood changes can happen even one year post childbirth. The pregnancy blues' clinical importance rests on their ability to foreshadow subsequent depressive symptoms. 

2. Postpartum Depression: Postpartum depression is a more serious condition that can develop within the gestation period the first year after childbirth affecting around fifteen percent mothers, research suggesting  it to be around one in every seven women. While the baby blues usually pass quickly, PPD tends to linger longer and negatively impact a person's capacity to resume normal functioning. Symptoms may include persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and difficulty bonding with the baby. Fifty percent of women with prenatal depression have anxiety comorbidity.

3. Postpartum Anxiety: Women experiencing postpartum anxiety may have excessive worries or fears about the baby's health and safety, their ability to care for the baby, or other aspects of their life. This anxiety can interfere with daily functioning and cause significant distress affecting up to twenty percent of women. Compared to the general population, postpartum women also experience a higher prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

4. Postpartum Psychosis: Delusions, confusion, severe mood swings, and hallucinations are the hallmarks of the rare but severe disorder known as postpartum psychosis. One in 1,000 to one in 500 postpartum women may be affected post-pregnancy and require urgent medical attention, which is extremely necessary for the safety of the mother and the baby.

5. Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Also rarer, postpartum OCD manifests as intrusive, distressing thoughts or images related to the baby's safety or well-being. Women with postpartum OCD may experience compulsive behaviors such as repetitive checking or cleaning rituals to alleviate anxiety. Symptoms of subsyndromal obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) might affect up to twenty five percent of pregnant women.

6. Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Twenty to thirty-three percent of new moms report having experienced something traumatic, and between one and six percent of them suffer from PTSD. Flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance, and resisting reminders of the traumatic event are some of the symptoms that may be experienced. Treatment is crucial since this illness causes problems with mother-infant bonding or even avoidance of contact with the infant.

Steps to Treat Postpartum Mental Health Issues

1. Seek Professional Help: Consulting a healthcare provider for an assessment and treatment is beneficial, and in certain cases necessary, if you're suffering from the postpartum blues or a more serious condition like postpartum depression. The optimal course of action may involve therapy, medicine, or a mix of the two. Your psychiatrist or psychologist can offer advice on this.

2. Therapy: Postpartum psychological difficulties can be effectively treated with therapy and psychological support. You can discover coping mechanisms, explore underlying issues, and cultivate more positive thought and behavior patterns throughout treatment sessions.

3. Medication: Typically, prescription drugs, advised by a psychiatrist, are used to treat more severe illnesses like anxiety or postpartum depression. Antidepressants that assist in correcting chemical imbalances in the brain include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are commonly prescribed. 

4. Supportive care: In contrast to standard care, psychosocial interventions for people and groups that are provided over the phone, in a clinic, or at home are linked to improved mental wellbeing, decreased psychosocial stress, and symptom reduction as well as the avoidance of PPD.

5. Self-Care: Assign priority to self-care practices that enhance both physical and mental health, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising frequently, and seeking support from loved ones. 

6. Prevention: Many females who are at risk of developing PPD can be recognized prior to delivery. Depressive symptoms can be effectively reduced by exclusive breastfeeding up to three months after childbirth. Positive parenting techniques and the promotion and strengthening of the mother-infant attachment can help prevent postpartum depression. Family and medical professionals can provide social support in order to do this. In addition, adequate sleep for mothers can aid in the prevention of PPD.

For women experiencing emotional challenges after giving birth, online therapy provides a number of benefits. These benefits include:

- Convenience: Online therapy eliminates the need for childcare and travel  arrangements by allowing you to attend sessions from any location with an internet connection.

- Accessibility: For women living in remote or underdeveloped areas of India in particular, online therapy lowers barriers to receiving mental health care.

- Privacy: Talking about delicate subjects with confidentiality at home, away from the stigma attached to standard therapy settings, may make some women feel more at ease. 

Rocket Health India is committed to offering  individualized, high-quality mental health care. Their group of skilled therapists specializes in helping people with life transitions, which also include pregnancy and childbirth. Rocket Health India is dedicated to providing compassionate and skilled support. This happens through the offering of flexible scheduling options and evidence-based therapy techniques. 

Many women go through pregnancy and the postpartum blues, but they don't have to go through it alone. Through knowledge of the facts surrounding postpartum mood disorders, identification of common types, and seeking suitable treatment, women can take charge of their emotional well-being and recovery. With the support of online therapy platforms like Rocket Health India, comprehensive care and guidance are readily available to empower women on their journey to motherhood. 

Take the first step towards emotional wellness with Rocket Health India. Schedule a confidential online therapy session today and discover the support you need to thrive during pregnancy and beyond.


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Mughal, S., Azhar, Y., & Siddiqui, W. (2022). Postpartum Depression. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.

Okunola, T.O., Awoleke, J.O., Olofinbiyi, B.A., Rosiji, B.O., Omoya, S., & Olubiyi, A.O. (2021). POSTNATAL BLUES: A MIRAGE OR REALITY. Journal of Affective Disorders Reports.

Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., Ruiz, P., & Kaplan, H. I. (2017). Kaplan and Sadock’s comprehensive textbook of psychiatry (10th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.