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Search the calendar and register for the pregnancy and childbirth classes that interest you.

Postpartum Depression

Suggest postpartum depression links to Mental Health. Receive compassionate care from Virginia Hospital Center if you experience feelings of inadequacy and sadness after you have your baby.

What’s Postpartum Depression?

It’s common to experience the “baby blues”—sadness, irritability, anxiety or other mood changes a few days after giving birth. “Baby blues” symptoms should lessen and disappear within two weeks after delivery.

If you experience the symptoms for longer than two weeks, you may have postpartum depression (PPD), a health condition that can interfere with your daily life. According to the Office on Women’s Health, about 1 in 9 new mothers have PPD.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

You may have PPD if you:

  • Cry easily and often
  • Experience nervousness or anxiety
  • Feel angry and irritable
  • Have a hard time falling or staying asleep
  • Have difficulty concentrating
  • Lose your appetite or eat more than usual
  • Lose interest in things you usually enjoy
  • Struggle to care for your baby
  • Think of hurting your baby or yourself
  • Think your baby would be better off without you
  • Want to separate yourself from family and friends

Get Emergency Help

Call 9-1-1 or visit the nearest emergency room if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else.

Postpartum Support Group

Attend a support group for postpartum depression if you’re anxious, angry or sad. You’ll get to share your thoughts and feelings with other moms who are having a similar experience.

Postpartum Support Group Lowers Mom’s Anxiety

“This is not traditional depression. What these moms feel is isolation, anxiety and loss of confidence.”

—Mary Crowther, MBBS, OB/GYN

Mandy had wanted to have a baby for so long and, yet, she felt unhappy throughout her first pregnancy. After her first child was born, “everything really went downhill,” she recalls.

“Breastfeeding was a struggle. I was not able to sleep at all and I felt completely overwhelmed. I wasn’t enjoying my baby.”

Two weeks after delivery, Mandy went to see her OB/GYN who recommended she get help at home so she could get more rest and also see a therapist. Once her son started sleeping longer, things were a little better, but Mandy still felt anxious and depressed

“I was scared to give my baby a bath by myself for fear that I would drop him,” she says. “The anxiety was paralyzing.”

Group Offers Friendship, Connection

Mandy started attending the Postpartum Support Group. It helped her to hear other women’s stories and to see “it wasn’t just me,” she says.

After one particularly difficult weekend, her therapist said it was time to consider taking a low dose antidepressant, a treatment Mandy had resisted initially. This time, she agreed.

“Within weeks, my crying was much less intense and I didn’t feel as sad. My anxiety was still there, but more manageable,” she says. It took about nine months after her baby was born for Mandy to feel completely like herself again.

The decision to have another baby was one that she and her husband considered carefully. Her experience with her second son has been “100% different. My anxiety is much lower and every moment with him has been a joy,” Mandy says.

She still attends the Postpartum Support Group, but for different reasons. “This time, I realize when I have a bad day it won’t last forever. I want to share my experiences and what I learned to help other new moms,” Mandy says.

Access Mayo Clinic’s Expertise

As part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Virginia Hospital Center brings the world-renowned expertise and knowledge of Mayo Clinic to our community. How can I access the expertise of Mayo Clinic? It’s simple – all you need is to be under the care of a physician on Virginia Hospital’s Center medical Staff. 

Find a VHC Doctor Access the Mayo Clinic Health Library

Related Locations

  • Main Hospital
    Main Hospital

    703-558-5000

    1701 N George Mason Drive
    Arlington, VA 22205