Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Newborn & baby health centre

Treating postnatal depression

WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Postnatal depression is a depression occurring within the 12 months following a delivery.

Often the symptoms start in the first few months.

If you're diagnosed with postnatal depression, sometimes known as PND, there are many options for help available. Here's what you should know about how it can be treated.

What do to if you think you have postnatal depression

The most important thing to do is admit that you are struggling and need a little help. PND is not uncommon and every GP, midwife or health professional will have seen other mums before you with similar problems.

Early detection and treatment make a big difference to postnatal depression and helps to prevent women suffering unnecessarily. Health professionals are there to help you and will not judge you, or label you as a bad mother.

It's important that you don't bottle your feelings up. Talk to your partner, friends, parents or a health professional about what you are feeling. Accept any offers of help and don't feel bad about needing them. Having a baby is probably the most life-changing experience you'll ever go through, and it's natural to need the input of others to make things easier.

The severity of PND varies. Most mothers with PND cope really well, are great mothers and with help, support and sometimes treatment are soon enjoying life and their beautiful baby.

Ensure you get as much sleep as you can. Take up offers of babysitting so that you can get some well-deserved rest, and make sure you get some "me" time so you can feel like a woman again, not just a mother. Don't worry about spending a little time away from your baby - a healthy, happier, more-relaxed you will make for a more content baby.

Also, make sure that you're eating a balanced diet to give yourself more energy to look after your baby, and try to take some regular gentle exercise such as a stroll with the pram.

Treating postnatal depression

PND is treated in a similar way to ordinary depression. Talking about the problem with someone who is trained and experienced can be a massive help. Speak to your GP or health visitor for more information on counselling.

You may also be prescribed antidepressants, which can help some people get through an initial difficult period. Remember to tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, as some drugs can get into your breastmilk, and you'll be prescribed one that is safe for you and your baby.

Reviewed on April 21, 2017

Children's health newsletter

Tips to inspire healthy habits
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

How to help headache pain
rash on skin
Top eczema triggers to avoid
Causes of fatigue & how to fight it
Tips to support digestive health
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
woman sleeping
Sleep better tonight
Treating your child's cold or fever
fifth disease
Illnesses every parent should know
spoonfull of sugar
Surprising things that harm your liver
woman holding stomach
Understand this common condition
What your nails say about your health