POSTPARTUM RESOURCES

How Long Does Postpartum Depression Last?

How long does ppd last?

Around 6 weeks after childbirth, postpartum depression (PPD) hit me hard. Suddenly I didn’t feel like myself at all and in my darkest moments, I felt like it was never going to end – that I was going to be this new scared, anxious, depressed version of myself forever. I saw no ending in sight.

The great news is that postpartum depression and anxiety DO END. You will get through this and find your old self again. If you are asking yourself how long will this last, there is no definitive answer. It lasts differently for everyone but according to evidence-based research, the sooner you get support, the quicker you can start to heal.

Remember, you are not alone. Approximately 1 in 5 new mothers suffer from postpartum depression (PPD) or a maternal mental health condition, and even worse, 75% go untreated. PPD affects around 800,000 women every year and is the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth.

How long will my postpartum depression last?

I wish there was set time to tell you – such as, “you’ll feel normal again in 3 weeks or 5 months or at a certain date.” But the honest answer is that everyone’s experience is unique, and the duration will vary per person. The length is affected by various factors, including your symptom severity, personal risk factors and the availability of support.

New moms can have short-term, long-term or even reoccurring PPD:

  • Short-Term PPD: Approximately 50% of new moms with PPD experience it briefly and will start to see improvements within 3-6 months1. These moms often respond well to early intervention, whether through seeking social support, self-care, therapy or medical support.
  • Long-Term PPD: For 30% of mothers with PPD, symptoms can last up to a year or longer2. If you are struggling with long-term PPD, a comprehensive approach to treatment and support is typically beneficial and may include a combination of therapy, medication, social support and wellness/self-care support.
  • Recurrent PPD: If a new mom has experienced PPD following a pregnancy, there is a 40-60% chance of experiencing it again in future pregnancies3. In this case, planning ahead and taking steps to help reduce PPD while you are pregnant and the months following, are crucial and can help reduce its impact. 

Early intervention and support can help you feel better, quicker.

More great news is that early intervention can directly improve the length and severity of postpartum depression – yet 75% of new moms with PPD do not seek help. Our goal at Thrive Postpartum is to help all moms find support quickly. You can find support in a variety of ways:

  • Find a supportive network: Engage with a strong support system, including family, friends, support groups, Thrive Postpartum’s community and healthcare providers, who can provide you with emotional and practical support.
  • Focus on your physical and mental wellness: Prioritize sleep, movement/exercise, nutrition and self-care activities like meditation, mindfulness and grounding to support your mental well-being.
  • Seek professional guidance: Ask for professional help, such as therapy or medication, to help improve symptoms even faster.

Remember, you will feel like you again and this will not last forever. Recognizing signs of PPD and seeking help as early as possible can shorten the duration and improve your overall well-being.

At Thrive Postpartum, we believe in the strength of community and support. You are not alone on this journey, and with the right care and resources, brighter days lie ahead. Thrive’s community is launching in early 2024 – sign up for our newsletter to get regular support tips, learn about Thrive’s community of fellow moms and support experts, and be the first to join.

Sources:

  1. Stewart, D. E., & Vigod, S. N. (2016). “Postpartum depression: Pathophysiology, treatment, and emerging therapeutics.” Annual Review of Medicine, 67, 1-16.
  2. Wisner, K. L., et al. (2013). “Onset timing, thoughts of self-harm, and diagnoses in postpartum women with screen-positive depression findings.” JAMA Psychiatry, 70(5), 490-498.
  3. Wisner, K. L., et al. (2021). Postpartum Depression: A New Mother’s Nightmare. American Psychiatric Association Publishing.

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