Peripartum mood disturbances epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Sunita Kumawat, M.B.B.S[2]


There are three major types of postpartum mental disorders: postpartum blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis. Postpartum blues are the most common emotional condition for women after giving birth that usually goes away by the second week. Postpartum depression is less common and usually lasts longer than two weeks; symptoms appear virtually every day and last for the majority of the day, and functional impairment may result. Postpartum psychosis is least common and is a mental emergency that happens within the first month after giving birth; it must be treated right away.

Epidemiology and Demographics

Prevalence of postpartum mood disorders.

Up to 85% of women have some form of mood disorder during the postpartum period. The most widespread is postpartum blues with prevalence ranging from 30%-75%. It exists in a number of nations and cultures, although there is a difference in the prevalence rates.
According to the reports, it ranges from 15% in Japan to 60% in Iran.[1][2] The disparity in prevalence is because of underreporting of the condition because of cultural beliefs.

The second most common is postpartum depression which affects 10%-15% of new mothers. The average age at presentation is 27 with majority being married and being Akans. On grading them on severity scale, 39% has minimal depression, 22% are affected by moderate depression and mild depression, 6% have moderately severe depression, and 11% are affected by severe depression. There is significant reduction in the symptoms with psychosocial support.[3]

Postpartum psychosis is relatively uncommon which affects 0.1%-0.2% women. [4] [5]


  1. "Maternity blues as predictor of postpartum depression: A prospective cohort study among Japanese women: Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology: Vol 29, No 3".
  2. Akbarzadeh M, Mokhtaryan T, Amooee S, Moshfeghy Z, Zare N (2015). "Investigation of the effect of religious doctrines on religious knowledge and attitude and postpartum blues in primiparous women". Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 20 (5): 570–6. doi:10.4103/1735-9066.164586. PMC 4598903. PMID 26457094.
  3. Anokye R, Acheampong E, Budu-Ainooson A, Obeng EI, Akwasi AG (2018). "Prevalence of postpartum depression and interventions utilized for its management". Ann Gen Psychiatry. 17: 18. doi:10.1186/s12991-018-0188-0. PMC 5941764. PMID 29760762.
  4. Kendell RE, Chalmers JC, Platz C (May 1987). "Epidemiology of puerperal psychoses". Br J Psychiatry. 150: 662–73. doi:10.1192/bjp.150.5.662. PMID 3651704.
  5. O'Hara MW, Neunaber DJ, Zekoski EM (May 1984). "Prospective study of postpartum depression: prevalence, course, and predictive factors". J Abnorm Psychol. 93 (2): 158–71. doi:10.1037//0021-843x.93.2.158. PMID 6725749.

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