Managing Depression When You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Disclaimer: This page houses important information and resources pertaining to depression during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, including links to our evidence-based Fact Sheets. However, the resources here should not replace the care and advice of a medical professional.
Anyone can experience symptoms of depression at some point in their life, like when going through relationship problems, grieving the loss of a loved one, or facing job loss. But when the symptoms of depression are severe, persistent, and interfere with everyday activities, these may be signs of clinical depression (also called Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD). When major depression happens during pregnancy or after childbirth, it is called Peripartum Depression (PPD; formerly called postpartum depression). MDD and PPD are serious conditions that may make it difficult to complete daily tasks in order to care of yourself or your baby, and may interfere with bonding, which might have a negative effect on the baby’s development and behavior.
Depression is nothing to be ashamed of. If you think you may be clinically depressed, talk with your healthcare provider or a licensed mental health professional about your symptoms and concerns.
Not Feeling Like Yourself?
Are you a new parent – or about to be – and feeling sad, worried, or concerned that you aren’t good enough? The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline counselors provide 24/7, free, confidential emotional support and resources to help you feel better. Call or text 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262). Are you currently in crisis? Call or text 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline.
Pregnant persons with depression – and their babies – typically do better if their depression is treated. Some studies (not all) have reported higher rates of miscarriage, preterm delivery, low birth weight, and pre-eclampsia when depression is left untreated in pregnancy. Treatment for depression can include medications, talk therapy, or a combination of the two. It’s important that you discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers when planning pregnancy, or as soon as you learn that you are pregnant. As always, check out our resources if you’re looking for information about specific medications. And remember: always talk with your healthcare providers before stopping any medication you are currently taking.
Please see our library of resources below on depression during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Related Fact Sheets
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin®)
- Citalopram | Escitalopram (Celexa® | Lexapro®)
- Desipramine (Norpramin®, Pertofrane®)
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta®)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac®)
- Imipramine (Tofranil®)
- Mirtazapine (Remeron®)
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa®)
- Sertraline (Zoloft®)
- St. John’s Wort
- Venlafaxine (Effexor®)
- Vilazodone (Viibryd®)
Related Baby Blogs
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Get Help
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Depression and Anxiety During Pregnancy and After Birth: FAQs
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Postpartum Depression and Breastfeeding
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Postpartum Depression
- American Psychiatric Association: Postpartum Depression
- American Psychological Association: Postpartum Depression
- Anxiety & Depression Association of America: Pregnancy and Medication
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Depression Among Women
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Depression During and After Pregnancy
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
- International Childbirth Education Association: Breastfeeding and Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
- March of Dimes: Depression during Pregnancy
- March of Dimes: Postpartum Depression
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: Depression
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: Major Depressive Disorder with Peripartum Onset
- National Institute of Mental Health: Depression
- National Institute of Mental Health: Perinatal Depression
- National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: Partner Toolkit
- Postpartum Support International: Depression During Pregnancy & Postpartum
- What To Expect: Recognizing and Treating Depression during Pregnancy
- National Maternal Mental Health Hotline
- Patient Education Genius
- Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
- The Mighty