Post Natal Depression can occur at any time following birth and can impact 15% of mums and 10% of dads. Unlike the ‘baby blues’, which disappears after afew days, Post Natal Depression is unlikely to go away without effective treatment. It can be precipitated by a number of factors, including the birth experience, previous episodes of depression, tiredness, lack of support, hormonal fluctuations, expectations of motherhood, family history of depression, perfectionism etc

Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe and usually appear within 4 weeks after childbirth (although can also appear months afterwards) and can include:


  • Lowered mood (sadness, irritability, tearfulness, emptiness, exhaustion)
  • Inadequacy, hopelessness and helplessness
  • Guilt, shame
  • Anxiety, fear (of being alone) and panic



  • Inability to think clearly and make decisions
  • Negative obsessive thoughts, thoughts of worthlessness and failure
  • Lack of concentration, poor memory and confusion
  • Loss of confidence and self-esteem
  • Worry about harm or death to partner or baby
  • Thinking about running away from everything
  • Suicidal thoughts



  • Lack of motivation (low energy, fatigue)
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities (sex, hobbies, self)
  • Changes in appetite (not eating or overeating)
  • Changes in sleep patterns (unrelated to baby’s sleep needs), exhaustion
  • Psychomotor changes (slowed or agitated movement or speech)
  • Withdrawal from social contact
  • Poor self care
  • Inability to cope with routine tasks


If these symptoms persist see your GP for a referral to a psychologist specialised in Post Natal Depression.