What is late-onset postpartum depression (PPD)?

  |   Age:

What is late-onset postpartum depression?

A common misconception about postpartum depression is that it only occurs in the first 4 to 6 weeks after delivery. Postpartum depression can actually emerge 4 months, 6 months, even 8 months after birth. It's important for women to know that postpartum depression can happen at any point in the year following childbirth, and that they should keep an eye out for any symptoms, even if it's been months since their little one's arrival.

Postpartum depression emerges at different times for different women, and typically, its arrival is categorized as being either early-onset or late-onset.

Early-onset postpartum depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is considered early-onset when it occurs in the days or weeks immediately following childbirth. Early-onset PPD is often referred to as the "baby blues," which are differentiated from PPD by the way the symptoms are milder, and the fact that the baby blues often go away on their own before too long (although talk-therapy as a treatment may help send the baby blues on their way a little faster in some cases).

Early-onset PPD is often milder than late-onset PPD, and may be marked by symptoms like tearfulness, anxiety, or irritability. These mood changes are usually at their worst 3 to 5 days after a woman has given birth. Early-onset postpartum depression normally goes away on its own after a few weeks, with support and understanding, but without medication or therapy.

Late-onset postpartum depression

Late-onset PPD occurs weeks or months after childbirth. Unlike early-onset, late-onset postpartum depression starts as a small collection of thoughts and emotions that become more frequent and more intense as time goes on. This gradually begins to affect how a woman acts in daily life, as well as her normal emotional state.

Late-onset postpartum depression is especially dangerous because many women don't think they can develop postpartum depression after about 6 weeks postpartum. They're more likely to blame themselves, not PPD, for their troubling feelings and thoughts, and less likely to seek and get a diagnosis from their healthcare provider.

No matter how recent it's been since they gave birth, it's critical for all new mothers to pay attention to any changes in their moods. Not all emotions or mood fluctuations are bad, and in fact, many are normal and to be expected in this time in a woman's life. But women should never be afraid to seek out the help of a healthcare provider if they notice symptoms that could potentially be caused by postpartum depression.


More articles at this age

Making picture books fun for your 6-month old

There are a hundred different sources that talk about how important it is to read to babies, but sometimes it seems like no one let a few of the squirmy babies in on that information. Picture books can be a great way to bond with a 6-month-old, but for more stubborn babies, it make take a little trial and error to figure out how.

From grabbing to pincer grasp

your baby has started to grasp the concept of, well, grasping! This might sound like a trivial skill, but it's actually going to help your baby for the rest of her life.

The bouncing baby

Boing, boing! You might have noticed that your baby has gotten reeeeal bouncy all of a sudden. This is safe, and it also may be a sign of good things to come.

Sleep from 7 to 9 months

Not much in your baby's life is staying the same right now - she is probably pretty close to on-the-move, if she doesn't have you chasing after her already, and the noises she may be sounding more like talking every day - but her sleep schedule might be getting more predictable - or maybe not.

Field trips you can take with your 6-month old

Anything can seem like an adventure when you're 6 months old, but that's no reason not to bring your 6-month-old along on a real adventure or four!

Making sure your home is safe for crawling

You probably don't have a lot of memories from the last time you were a curious crawling baby, so unless you remember those days like they were yesterday, it might be helpful to have a quick refresher on making the house safe for your baby as she gets more mobile.

Welcome to lil'bee!

It looks like you're using an ad blocker. That's okay. Who doesn't? But without advertising-income, we can't keep making this site awesome. Please disable your ad blocker and refresh this page.

Thanks for understanding 🙏