How Long does Postpartum Depression Last?

Postpartum depression is a very discussed topic in the medical world because it can have worrisome consequences on both the life of the mother and her baby. Recent discoveries have brought up an even more worrisome conclusion. If for some mothers the depression lasts a short amount of time for others it can become a long term affliction.

How Long does Postpartum Depression Last

Just Baby Blues

96% of the new mothers experience some kind of mood swings during the 4-5 weeks from the moment they give birth. These mood swings involve feeling tired, crying a lot and have abrupt changes of temper. However, for most of the women the symptoms alleviate and depression does not appear.


If the symptoms don’t improve (and they really do so by themselves) the postpartum depression appears. The studies have concluded that in the absence of a prescribed treatment the postpartum depression can become a long term condition the symptoms recurring as the time goes by.

The Study

A very focused study published in Harvard Review of Psychiatry, analyzed the data from previous studies conducted between 1985 and 2012 on postpartum depression. The goal was to determine what makes some women more prone to develop this affliction and how long does it take for some of them to actually recover from it.

The scientists concluded that if for most women the symptoms decreased over time for about 38% the depression became a chronic condition. Also, in the case of the women who received specialized medical help for postpartum depression over 50% of them continued to experience the symptoms for a year after giving birth.

In the case of the women who did not receive any kind of medical treatment for the problem, the study discovered that over 30% were experiencing the depression in the third year from the birth of the child.

Preexistent Conditions

The study analyzed the preexistent psychic health of the women in the studied group. It seems that the mothers who suffered from a kind of depression before giving birth were more prone to develop chronic symptoms of postpartum depression.  Other factors like poor relationship, stressful work and home environments, a history of physical or psychical abuse are also major causes for postpartum depression.

Social Background and Right Treatment

The study concluded that the social background can be a decisive factor for the occurrence of the postpartum depression. Young mothers and the mothers coming from a low income social background but also the mothers coming from minority groups were also in danger to get this affliction.

The study concluded that it is very important for the doctors to observe the signs of depression and prescribe the treatment according to the medical history of the mother.


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