Q. What is perinatal depression?

A.  Perinatal Depression is depression that can occur anytime during pregnancy and up to one year after delivery. Feelings of depression or sadness may cause women to feel confused and alone. By learning to recognize and understand perinatal depression, a woman can seek support from her family, and seek medical assistance. Husbands, partners, friends and family members can also help. Often they recognize that there is a problem even before the woman herself.

Q. What causes perinatal depression?

A. The exact cause of perinatal depression is unknown. Some factors that may contribute to perinatal depression are:

  • Changes in hormone levels

  • A difficult pregnancy

  • A difficult birth

  • Medical problems in either the mother or baby

  • Lack of sleep

  • Feeling alone

  • Loss of freedom

  • Sudden changes in routines

  • Personal or family history of depression

  • Prior experience with perinatal depression

  • High levels of stress

Q. Who is at risk for perinatal depression?

A. Perinatal depression can affect any woman who:

  • Is pregnant

  • Has recently had a baby

  • Has ended a pregnancy or miscarried

  • Has stopped breast feeding

    Women of any age, race or economic background may be at risk.

Q. What are the symptoms of perinatal depression?

A. Symptoms may appear during pregnancy, after birth, or within the first year after giving birth.  Common symptoms are:

  • Feeling anxious

  • Trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much

  • Changes in appetite

  • Feelings of irritability, anger or nervousness

  • Feeling exhausted

  • Not enjoying life as much as in the past

  • Lack of interest in friends and family

  • Lack of interest in sex

  • Feeling guilt or worthless

  • Feeling hopeless

  • Uncontrollable crying

  • Feelings of being a bad mother

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Low energy

  • Thoughts of harming the baby or harming herself

    Most women experience a brief period of blues after having a baby. Very few women experience extreme symptoms.

Q. Approximately how many women are affected in Connecticut?

A. Although we do not have a specific count, as information about this issue is not routinely collected, it is estimated to be 10-15% of women have perinatal depression.


  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • Depression After Delivery, Inc.

  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health

  • New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services

  • New York State Department of Public Health

  • Postpartum Support International, Inc.


Perinatal Depression Provider Consultation Line Teleconference


Fact Sheet - English

Fact Sheet - Spanish


2-1-1 Infoline

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

American Psychological Association

CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Depression After Delivery

Mental Health America

National Institute of Mental Health

Postpartum Education for Parents

Postpartum Health Alliance

Postpartum Support International

United Way of Connecticut 

Women's Health