Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Depression: Managing Postpartum Depression

Depression: Managing Postpartum Depression

Overview

If you have the "baby blues" after childbirth, you're not alone. About half of women have a few days of mild depression after they have a baby. This can be upsetting, but it's normal to have some insomnia, irritability, tears, overwhelmed feelings, and mood swings. Baby blues usually peak around the fourth day after the baby is born. They tend to improve in less than 2 weeks, when hormonal changes have settled down. But you can have bouts of baby blues throughout your baby's first year.

If your depressed feelings have lasted more than 2 weeks, your body isn't recovering from childbirth as expected. Postpartum depression:

  • Is a serious medical condition. Without treatment, it can last a long time and make it hard for you to function. And it can affect your baby's development.
  • Is best treated with counseling and an antidepressant medicine.
  • Can further improve with home treatment.

To prevent serious problems for you and your baby, work with your doctor now to treat your symptoms.

If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself, your baby, or anyone else, see your doctor immediately or call 911 for emergency medical care.

How is postpartum depression treated?

How is postpartum depression treated?

Depression is a medical condition that requires treatment. It's not a sign of weakness. Be honest with yourself and those who care about you. Tell them about your struggle. You, your doctor, and your friends and family can team up to treat your postpartum depression symptoms.

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Work together to decide what type of treatment is right for you. (You may also have your thyroid function checked. This test is to make sure that a thyroid problem isn't causing your symptoms.)

Treatment options

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy with a supportive counselor. This is recommended for all women who have postpartum depression. It can also help prevent postpartum depression. A cognitive-behavioral counselor can also teach you skills to help you manage anxiety. These skills include deep breathing and relaxation techniques.
  • Interpersonal counseling. It focuses on your relationships and the personal changes that come with having a new baby. It gives you emotional support and helps you solve problems and set goals.
  • Antidepressant medicine, ideally along with counseling. Even if you breastfeed, you can take an antidepressant for postpartum depression. Breastfeeding offers many emotional and physical benefits for both baby and mother. So experts are studying which antidepressants are most safe for breastfeeding babies. Whether or not you breastfeed, your doctor is likely to recommend a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Tricyclic antidepressants, excluding doxepin (Silenor, Zonalon), can also be used by women who breastfeed.

Breastfeeding babies whose mothers take an antidepressant do not often have side effects. But they can. If you are taking an antidepressant while breastfeeding, talk to your doctor and your baby's doctor about what types of side effects to look for.

Home treatment

  • Schedule outings and visits with friends and family. Ask them to call you often. Isolation can make depression worse, especially when it's combined with the stress of caring for a newborn.
  • Get as much sunlight as you can. Keep your shades and curtains open. And get outside as much as you can.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. If you don't feel hungry, eat small snacks throughout the day. Nutritional supplement shakes are also useful for keeping up your energy.
  • Get some exercise every day, such as outdoor stroller walks. Exercise helps improve mood.
  • Ask for help with preparing food and doing other daily tasks. Family and friends are often happy to help a mother with a newborn.
  • Don't overdo it. And get as much rest and sleep as you can. Fatigue can increase depression.
  • Join a support group of moms with new babies. An infant massage class is another great way of getting out and spending time with others whose daily lives are like yours. You will also learn new ways to bond with your baby. To find a support group in your area, talk to your doctor. Or see the website of Postpartum Support International at www.postpartum.net.
  • Play upbeat music throughout your day and soothing music at night.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details