Postpartum Mood Disorders

Please scroll to the bottom to see the resource listing.

We decided to give these disorders a category of their own.  This is partly because they can manifest in quite a different way from regular anxiety or mood disorders.  Even a long-time, high functioning, sufferer of depression can still be knocked out by postpartum disorders because the triggers and the thought patterns can be very different.  One group of people who are often ignored in conversations about postpartum mood disorders are Fathers.  Even though a Dad hasn’t gone through the rigors of childbirth they still experience the same life change and in response they have hormonal swings and anxiety too.  Of course postpartum issues aren’t just caused by hormones, a lack of sleep, messed up eating schedules, and general self-neglect are often extenuating circumstances for most new parents.  We also shouldn’t forget adoptive parents either, although the challenges tend to be a little different they can be just as stressful.

To learn more about postpartum mood disorders please click here.

To learn more about postpartum mood disorders in men please click here.



Baby Blues

The baby blues affect up to 80% of new Mothers.  Quite often the early warning signs of postpartum depression are shrugged off as baby blues.  They often start about four days after the birth and last up to two weeks.  If the feelings worsen or persist for longer than two weeks you should seek medical advice.

To learn more about baby blues please click here.  


Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression, unlike the baby blues, is a serious and dangerous mental illness.  It impedes the sufferer’s ability to carry out every day activities, and can even cause difficulties with bonding and with breastfeeding.  A diagnosis is not a judgement on someone’s love for their child or their abilities as a parent, it is a condition caused by hormonal swings.  Although PPD generally starts somewhere close to the birth of the baby, it can onset during pregnancy or as much as 6 months after the birth.  Risk factors include the loss of a pregnancy, a history of depression, or a difficult birth.  But quite often people going through this have no risk factors and have never experienced any personal mental health concerns before.  In extreme cases untreated PPD can lead to postpartum psychosis, it is often treated by medication and there are drugs that are considered completely safe during breastfeeding.  It is also important for people at risk of PPD to make sure they are engaging in bonding activities with their infant, the Mother Goose program that is used by many municipalities and library programs was designed specifically for these types of difficulties.

To learn more about postpartum depression please click here.  

Post-Adoption Depression Syndrome

Some may not choose to separate out depression caused by the stress of adopting a child.  The fact is that most of the signs of Depression are the same as the signs of both PPD and PADS.  However PADS isn’t often talked about and although the hormonal fluctuations of child birth aren’t present bonding difficulties can be much more severe.  An adoption worker can be a great resource for dealing with these issues.

To learn more about post-adoption depression please click here.  


Postpartum Anxiety

When we talk about postpartum mood disorders men are generally ignored, but so is postpartum anxiety.  But it is a very real thing to a lot of parents.  Having a new baby is an incredibly stressful process, it’s normal to worry about the myriad ways that things can go wrong.  But did you know that some women are so paralysed by anxiety that they can’t even leave their house due to worry?  This cuts them off from a lot of supports, which in turn can exasperate the condition.

To learn more about postpartum anxiety please click here.


Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a very serious condition.  If you or a loved one is suffering from signs of this disorder they should seek medical attention immediately.  Symptoms are very different from person to person but they can include periods of mania, depression, confusion, hallucinations, delusions, suicidal behaviour.  It can happen to women with no history of mental illness but it is treatable and generally women fully recover from this condition.  It is by far the least common postpartum mood disorder, occurring in only 0.1% of new Mothers.

To learn more about postpartum psychosis please click here.


St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton - Womens Health Concerns Clinic (WHCC)

Individual counselling / support, treatment, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

  • Provides assessment, consultation and treatment for women 18 years of age or older who are experiencing physical and/or emotional symptoms related to the reproductive milestones (i.e. menstrual cycle, pregnancy/postpartum, and menopause).

  • Referral by a health professional or self-referrals are welcome. The referral form can be retrieved from the link above.

Contact 905-522-1155 ext. 33979 for more information and to inquire about wait time for services.


City of Hamilton Public Health Services

  • Offers a variety of public health classes throughout the city on prenatal topics including nutrition and parenting groups.

  • Learn about baby’s growth and development, healthy eating & cooking, changes during pregnancy, physical activity, preterm labour, labour, birth and support, community supports for new parents, breastfeeding and feeding baby, healthy pregnancy.

  • Access valuable information, evidence-based parenting strategies and support for parents of children 2-6yrs.

Contact 905-546-CITY for more information on Public Health Services .

St. Martin’s Manor - Catholic Family Services (CFS)

Infant & Toddler Development Program (ITDP)

Time for Me Respite Program

  • Free childcare program for children (0-5 years) of young parents under 25 in order to support them in maintaining positive mental health and nurture their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Licensed Infant & Toddler Program

  • Access to high quality early learning and care for children (0-2 1/2 years) while young parents attend school, programs or work.

Contact St. Martin’s Manor at 905-575-7500 for more information or to register for the programs.

Ontario Early Years Centres

  • Take part with your children in a range of programs and activities.  Many of the programs for infants are based on the Mother Goose program, which was developed to facilitate bonding with Mothers who are suffering from mental health concerns and their infants.

  • Get answers to your questions from early years and health professionals.

  • Get information about child and family programs and services in the community.

  • Learn more about your child’s development.

  • Connect with other parents and caregivers in your community.

Visit the link above for locations and contact information.

Mood Disorders Anxiety Disorders Personality Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Schizophrenia Addiction
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Postpartum Mood Disorders Eating Disorders
Chronic Pain Suicide Prevention  


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