Books and Articles — Postpartum Depression

Books for Adults

Bennett, ShoshanaBeyond the Blues: Prenatal and Postpartum Depression
Huysman, ArleneA Mother's Tears: Understanding the Mood Swings That Follow Childbirth
Kleiman, KarenThe Postpartum Husband - Practical Solutions for living with Postpartum Depression
Kleiman, KarenThis Isn't What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression
Misri, SheilaShouldn't I be Happy: Emotional Problems of Pregnant and Postpartum Women
Placksin, SallyMothering the New Mother: Women's Feelings and Needs After childbirth A Resource and Support Guide
Roan, Sharon L.Postpartum Depression - Every Woman's Guide to diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
Shields, BrookeDown Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression

Articles and Other Resources

The Mothers Who Can't Escape the Trauma of Childbirth, by Ilana E. Strauss. The Atlantic, October 02, 2015.  “Many people, including doctors, confuse postpartum PTSD with postpartum depression, even though the two disorders are quite different: Mothers with postpartum depression generally don’t suffer from the intrusive memories and flashbacks that plague PTSD sufferers. Instead, they most commonly deal with things like sadness, trouble concentrating, difficulty finding joy in activities they once enjoyed, and difficulty bonding with their infants. Postpartum depression is also unique to new mothers, but any traumatic experience can bring on PTSD. Postpartum PTSD sufferers experience typical PTSD symptoms like hyper-vigilance, intrusive memories, flashbacks, severe emotional distress, irritability, trouble sleeping, and nightmares, explains Anastasia Pollock, a therapist who specializes in treating trauma. Mothers who suffer from PTSD often end up structuring their lives around their disorder, doing everything they can to avoid triggers that remind them of their trauma.”

Birth-Defect Risk From Antidepressants Is Seen as Small, by Betsy McKay. Wall St. Journal, July 08, 2015.  “The risk of some birth defects increases just slightly when pregnant women take certain antidepressants, according to a large study published Wednesday that sheds new light on a much-debated topic. The study, published in BMJ, a medical journal, found associations between certain birth defects and two antidepressants—Prozac, or fluoxetine, and Paxil, or paroxetine—taken in the month before pregnancy and through the first trimester. But it found no such links with three other antidepressants: Zoloft, or sertraline, the drug taken by most participants in the study’s control group, who were in treatment for depression, as well as Celexa, or citalopram, and Lexapro, or escitalopram.”

Signs of Postpartum Depression May Appear Months After Initial Screening, by The Wall Street Journal. The Wall St. Journal, June 22, 2015.  “Screening women for symptoms of depression shortly after giving birth may fail to identify those at high risk to develop postpartum depression in later months, says a study in the Annals of Family Medicine. For many women, the first signs of depression appeared months later, the study found. Surprisingly, women who appeared least likely to develop depression after giving birth were later found to be at greatest risk. Currently, women aren’t routinely screened for postpartum depression in the U.S.”

People Have Misconceptions About Miscarriage, And That Can Hurt, by Katherine Hobson. NPR, May 08, 2015.  “Most people think a miscarriage is rare, and many believe that if a woman loses a pregnancy that she brought it upon herself. Neither of those things is true, but the enduring beliefs cause great pain to women and their partners. In fact, almost half of people who have experienced a miscarriage or whose partner has had one feel guilty, according to a survey to be published Monday in Obstetrics & Gynecology. More than a quarter of them felt shame. Many felt they'd lost a child.”

History of depression puts women at risk for diabetes during pregnancy, study finds, by Loyola University Health System. ScienceDaily, March 31, 2015.  “A history of depression may put women at risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy, according to research published in the latest issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing by researchers from Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing (MNSON). This study also pointed to how common depression is during pregnancy and the need for screening and education. "Women with a history of depression should be aware of their risk for gestational diabetes during pregnancy and raise the issue with their doctor," said Mary Byrn, PhD, RN, study co-author and assistant professor, MNSON. "Health-care providers also should know and understand the prevalence and symptoms of prenatal depression and gestational diabetes and screen and manage these women appropriately."”

Study: New Mothers May Suffer From Postpartum OCD, by Brian Krans. Healthline News, March 06, 2015.  “A new mother has plenty to worry about, but some mothers’ fretting may go beyond natural protective instincts and into the realm of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A recent study from Northwestern University found that new mothers are five times more likely than their peers to experience OCD as long as six months after their child is born. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that about three percent of the general population has OCD, an anxiety disorder marked by uncontrollable thoughts and fears and repetitive behaviors. The Northwestern researchers found that 11 percent of new mothers experience significant OCD symptoms, including fear of injuring the baby and worry about proper hygiene and germs. Some of these are normal feelings a woman experiences with a newborn, but researchers said that if the compulsions interfere with a mother’s duties it could indicate a serious mental health issue.”

Phone support can help ease postpartum depression, by Lisa Rapaport. Reuters, February 24, 2015.  “Phone support can help ease postpartum depression, a small study suggests, offering an option for mothers who are unable or unwilling to seek therapy in person. In the study, women with postpartum depression received telephone counseling from other women who had previously suffered from the disorder and recovered. The new moms found that the conversations helped relieve symptoms.”

Could group care be the new model for pregnancy?, by Joanna Weiss. Boston Globe, January 23, 2015.  “Sometimes advice given during a brief doctor’s visit goes in and out of mind; advice reinforced by your peers can stick. The presence of other women can counter mistrust of the health care system. It can bridge the gap between Western medicine and home-country traditions. And it can counter a disturbing disparity in outcomes between white women and minority women, who are more likely to deliver premature and low-birth-weight babies. Preliminary data from BMC show a 30 percent reduction in preterm births among CenteringPregnancy patients, compared to the general hospital population. About 90 percent of women in Centering groups try breastfeeding — 60 percent more than the patient pool at large.”

Study finds Depression in Pregnancy, Postpartum is Overlooked and Undertreated, by David Jacobson. UCSF School of Pharmacy, December 01, 2014.  “About 10 to 20 percent of women suffer from new-onset depression during pregnancy or after giving birth. Untreated, the impact of such illness can be profound, ranging from substance abuse, poor prenatal care, and miscarriages to impaired infant bonding and developmental delays. But a new study comparing the medical records of more than 6,000 such perinatal women—both during their pregnancies and postpartum—to those of about 57,000 non-pregnant women of the same ages (18 to 39 years) has found the perinatal group was significantly less likely to be diagnosed with depression.”

Postpartum Difficulties Not Just Limited to Depression, by Traci Pedersen. Psych Central, August 19, 2014.  ““Both mothers and fathers need to pay attention to their mental health during the perinatal period, and they need to watch for these other types of conditions, not just depression,” said Carrie Wendel-Hummell, a doctoral candidate in sociology. “Anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, and bipolar disorder are all shaped by circumstances that surround having a baby.””

Looking after New Mothers, by New York Times. New York Times, June 19, 2014.  “A dozen states have laws that encourage some form of awareness and education about postpartum depression. In three of those states--New Jersey, Illinois, and West Virginia--screening is required by law. Should screening for postpartum depression be mandatory? How can those suffering be assured of treatment?”

Thinking of Ways to Harm Her, by Pam Belluck. New York Times, June 15, 2014.  “Postpartum depression isn't always postpartum. It isn't even always depression. A fast-growing body of research is changing the very definition of maternal mental illness, showing that it is more common and varied than previously thought. Scientists say new findings contradict the longstanding view that symptoms begin only within a few weeks after childbirth. In fact, depression often begins during pregnancy, researchers say,and can develop any time in the first year after a baby is born.”

Suppressing Positive Emotions Can Lead to Postpartum Depression, by Rick Nauert. Psych Central, April 30, 2014.  “New research discovers that the suppression of positive feelings can play an important role in the development of postpartum depression. Investigators believe this finding has implications for the treatment of depressed mothers.”

Depression risks increase for young dads, by Michelle Healy. USA Today, April 14, 2014.  “Becoming a dad can be emotionally tough for any guy, but especially for young, first-time fathers. A new study finds that the first five years of parenthood — key attachment and bonding years for a child — may be the riskiest for young dads when it comes to developing depression. Symptoms of depression increased on average by 68% over the first five years of fatherhood for men who were around 25 years old when they became fathers and lived with their children, according to the study published online today in the journal Pediatrics.”

Higher risks among perinatal women with bipolar disorder, by Brown University. ScienceDaily, February 24, 2014.  “Women with bipolar disorder often struggle with the illness during and after pregnancy. A new study finds that they were significantly more likely to face important psychiatric and childrearing challenges compared to women who were seeking treatment for other psychiatric disorders. The findings indicate the importance of properly identifying the disorder and developing specific treatments for women during and after pregnancy, the lead author states.”

Maternal Depression May Affect Infant Development, by Rick Nauert. Psych Central, December 05, 2013.  “New research finds that depression among pregnant women may have an impact on their developing babies. Experts have observed that children of depressed parents are at an increased risk of developing depression themselves — presumably a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. These children also display alterations in the amygdala, a brain structure important for the regulation of emotion and stress.”

Rep. Ellen Story calls Miriam Carey death 'wake up call' on postpartum depression, by Anne-Gerard Flynn. The Republican, October 05, 2013.

Why Maternity Leave Is Important, by Meredith Melnick. Time Magazine, July 21, 2011.

Mothers with breastfeeding difficulties more likely to suffer postpartum depression, by Tom Hughes. UNC Healthcare, July 19, 2011.  “A UNC study finds that women who have breastfeeding difficulties in the first two weeks after giving birth are more likely to suffer postpartum depression two months later compared to women without such difficulties.”

Incontinence May Increase Risk of Postpartum Depression, by Rick Nauert. Psych Central, June 21, 2011.  “A new Canadian study discovers that women with urinary incontinence after giving birth are almost twice as likely to develop postpartum depression as those without incontinence.”

Time to focus on sad dads, by Tara Parker-Pope. New York Times, March 17, 2011.  “Much is known about postpartum depression in women, but now researchers are calling attention to the plight of depressed fathers.”

Bush Recollection Puts Spotlight on Miscarriage, by Benedict Carey. New York Times, November 09, 2010.  “When a middle-class woman miscarried in postwar America, doctors often whisked the fetus away as if there were no loss of life at all, only embarrassment; women whispered about it between themselves but hardly ever discussed it openly.”

Postpartum Depression Can Be Serious, by Rick Nauert. Psych Central, October 27, 2010.  “According to researchers, maternal postpartum depression can have serious adverse effects on the mother and child relationship, resulting in an environment that can disrupt the infant's development.”

New moms, dads show increased depression risk, by Amy Norton. Reuters, September 14, 2010.  “Nearly 14 percent of moms developed depression in their baby's first year, which is in line with rates of maternal postpartum depression found in past studies. Nearly 4 percent of fathers also developed depression in the first year after a child's birth.”

New mothers get enough sleep, just not good sleep, by Amy Norton. Reuters, August 30, 2010.  “Researchers from West Virginia University in followed a group of new mothers and found, on average, the women got just over 7 hours of sleep a night during their babies' first four months. But the study found that sleep is also frequently disrupted with the women typically being awake for a total of two hours a night which was worrying as sleep problems and exhaustion may contribute to postpartum depression and impact work performance.”


Disclaimer: Material on the William James INTERFACE Referral Service website is intended as general information. It is not a recommendation for treatment, nor should it be considered medical or mental health advice. The William James INTERFACE Referral Service urges families to discuss all information and questions related to medical or mental health care with a health care professional.