A Comprehensive Guide to Perinatal Depression


Did you know that as many as 1 in 7 women experience perinatal depression, making it the most common complication of pregnancy? Despite how prevalent it is, perinatal depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated due to the stigma surrounding mental illness and a lack of knowledge about the condition.

If you’re struggling with perinatal depression, know that you’re not alone and there is perinatal counselling in Melbourne available. This guide will cover everything you need to know about perinatal depression, from its symptoms to its causes to treatment options.

What is perinatal depression?

Perinatal depression is a type of clinical depression that can occur during pregnancy or in the first year postpartum. It’s important to distinguish between the Baby Blues and perinatal depression; the Baby Blues are characterised by feelings of sadness, anxiety, and irritability that are generally mild and resolve within a couple of weeks postpartum.

Perinatal depression, on the other hand, is more severe and long-lasting, lasting for at least two weeks and often for months or even years if left untreated. Women with perinatal depression may have difficulty bonding with their baby, feel unable to care for their baby, and have thoughts of harming themselves or their baby. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek professional help.

Symptoms of perinatal depression

Perinatal depression can present itself in a number of different ways – some women may only experience a few symptoms while others may experience many. The most common symptoms of perinatal depression include:

  • Sadness or emptiness
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability or anger
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Causes of perinatal depression

There is no one single cause of perinatal depression; rather, it’s thought to be caused by a combination of physical, psychological, and social factors. Some women may be more vulnerable to developing perinatal depression due to a history of mental illness, trauma, pregnancy complications, or a lack of social support.

Risk factors for perinatal depression

There are certain risk factors that can increase your likelihood of developing perinatal depression – these include:

  • A personal history of mental illness such as depression or anxiety
  • A family history of mental illness
  • Traumatic life events such as abuse, loss, or natural disasters
  • Pregnancy complications such as preterm labour or preeclampsia
  • Financial stressors
  • A lack social support system
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Having had postpartum depression in a previous pregnancy

Treatment options for perinatal depression

Fortunately, there are a number of effective treatment options available for women struggling with perinatal depression – these include medication, therapy, self-care, and support groups.

Medication can be an effective way to manage the symptoms of perinatal depression; however, it’s important to work with your doctor to find an antidepressant that’s safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Therapy can also be helpful in managing the symptoms of perinatal depression if you prefer not to take medication or if you find that medication alone isn’t enough. Some self-care practices that may help reduce symptoms include exercise, relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep.

Additionally, joining a support group for mothers with PPD can provide you with much-needed social support and allow you to share your experiences with others who understand what you’re going through.

If you’re struggling with perinatal depression, know that you’re not alone

With proper diagnosis, most women suffering from perinatal depression successfully recover and go on to raise their newborns in a happy, healthy family environment.


About Author

Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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