A new baby brings excitement to a household, but it also brings many changes and responsibilities for parents. It's not uncommon for mothers and partners to experience sadness, anxiety, irritability or mood swings following the birth of a child. These feelings usually pass within days or weeks, but occasionally they don't subside and other symptoms of depression develop. This is considered postpartum depression (PPD). During this state mothers experience moderate to severe symptoms of depression, which may require treatment or medical attention.

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Maternal PPD

Postpartum depression generally occurs when the mother has difficulty meeting the constant demands and challenges a new born child presents. She may feel overwhelmed and unable to perform all that's required of her, making her susceptible to experiencing a depressive state.

There are two stages of postpartum depression. The most common is maternal PPD, which consists of moderate levels of depression. The second stage is maternal postpartum psychosis, which is more severe and requires immediate medical attention.

Paternal PPD

Depression following child birth may also affect the partner and/or father. The partner may experience difficulty adjusting to the abrupt changes and new challenges presented within the household following child birth. This is labeled paternal postpartum depression.

Maternal PPD is believed to be a significant predictor of paternal postpartum depression. Also, relationship dissatisfaction or lack of spousal support could increase a partner's susceptibility to experiencing PPD.

Symptoms

Postpartum Depression

  • Severe sensations of sadness, emptiness, failure and worthlessness
  • Uncontrollable tearfulness
  • Withdrawal from family members or friends
  • Loss of desire to engage in physical activity
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping patterns
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Lack of interest or constant worrying over the child
  • Frequent thoughts of suicide
  • Urges to cause harm or fear of causing harm

Postpartum Psychosis

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Urges to cause harm or fear of causing harm
  • Severe symptoms of a depressive state

Treatment

MDAM offers several support options for those struggling with postpartum depression, including peer-to-peer support via phone, email or in-person, as well as workshops and support groups. Through these services, individuals can connect with a MDAM volunteer or employee who has personal experience with postpartum depression. Our volunteers and employees will provide information, coping mechanisms, support and hope to those in need. Each peer-to-peer interaction is confidential and free of charge. Read our postpartum services page for more information and for upcoming workshop dates.

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MDAM also recommends self care for those experiencing postpartum depression. Self care includes taking time for yourself, physical activity and eating well. These self care options can lessen the symptoms for people experiencing mood disorders.

*Professional treatment is recommended for individuals experiencing severe symptoms related to postpartum depression.

Support Resources

Postpartum Warm Line: ‪(204) 391-5983 (‪9 a.m. – 9 p.m./ 7 days a week)

Postpartum Email Support: postpartumwarmline@mooddisordersmanitoba.ca

Postpartum Support Group: Call (204) 786-0987 for times, or check our calendar.

Baby Blues and Better Days Program: Read the Postpartum Services page for details.

Health links: ‪(204) 788-8200 or ‪1-888-315-9257 (24 hours/ 7 days a week)

Postpartum Depression Association of Manitoba: ‪www.ppdmanitoba.ca