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Postpartum Depression

It is normal to experience the “baby blues” during the first days and weeks after giving birth. You may have feelings of disappointment, irritability or anxiety that usually go away without treatment.

However, these feelings could also be a sign of postpartum depression, which is much more serious and longer-lasting than the baby blues.

Causes and Symptoms

Postpartum depression is the most common complication of childbirth. Although the exact cause of postpartum depression remains unclear, it is likely that a number or factors are involved. Changing family roles, hormonal changes, stress, marital strife and a family history of mental illness can all contribute to postpartum depression. Common symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Hopelessness
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Confusion
  • A fear of harming your baby or yourself
  • Mood swings characterized by exaggerated highs and lows
  • Diminished sex drive
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Uncontrolled crying with no known cause
  • Extreme worry for your baby
  • Lack of interest in your baby
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Resentment
  • Memory loss
  • Feelings of isolation

If you believe you are suffering from postpartum depression, it is very important that you get proper treatment as soon as possible not only to ensure that your baby is safe and properly cared for but to help you feel like yourself again and enjoy parenthood.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If your physician suspects that you are suffering from postpartum depression, he or she will conduct a complete physical exam and review your medical history. Your physician may order a thyroid screening to detect any hormonal or metabolic abnormalities. You may also be referred for psychiatric evaluation by a UPMC Pinnacle specialist.

Your physician will determine the best course of treatment for you based on your age, health, medical history, severity and duration of symptoms, tolerance for medications, breastfeeding status, and your personal preferences. Treatments may include:

  • Medication such as hormonal treatments and/or antidepressants
  • Zulresso
  • Psychological treatment, which may include other family members
  • Peer support in the form of support groups or educational classes
  • Stress management and relaxation training
  • Exercise
  • Assertiveness training, which helps women learn to set limits to prevent becoming overwhelmed

Postpartum Support Groups

HOPE Group is a postpartum adjustment support group led by maternal health nurses and a peer who has experienced perinatal mood and anxiety disorder. This group has virtual and in-person options. For more information, please call 717-960-3409.

New Parent Network support group is facilitated by an experienced health care provider from UPMC Magee-Womens and Children's Services. An informal time of sharing for new moms and their babies, ages 0-18 months. This group meets virtually from 1 to 2 p.m. every Monday and in person on Thursdays at the Camp Hill Giant Community Center, located at 3301 Trindle Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011. For more information, to receive links, or for group updates and reminders, please email parentchildeducation@upmc.edu.

Perinatal Wellness Program

Hosts free programming for new and expecting parents. Classes cover a wide range of topics providing education about the psychological and physical changes that occur in pregnancy and motherhood. For more information, please call 717-988-9438 or email perinatalwellness@upmc.edu.

Getting Help

If you're experiencing the signs of postpartum depression, contact PinnacleHealth Psychological Associates at 717-231-8360, UPMC Pinnacle Women's Behavioral Health Specialists at 717-988-9430, or crisis intervention in your county:

  • Adams County: 717-632-4900 (TrueNorth Wellness Services)
  • Eastern Cumberland and Perry counties: 717-763-2222
  • Western Cumberland and Perry counties: 717-243-6005
  • Dauphin County: 717-232-7511
  • Lancaster County: 717-394-2631
  • Lebanon County: 717-274-3363 
  • York County: 717-851-5352

The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline

This hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, in English or Spanish and other languages by request. It is staffed by licensed perinatal mental health and health care providers, childbirth professionals, and certified peer specialists.

The hotline provides immediate access to support, understanding, brief intervention, and resources to all pregnant, postpartum, and post-loss individuals, their partners, and families. It is funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and supported by Postpartum Support International.

Call or text the hotline at 1-833-943-5746 any time.

You can also contact Postpartum Support International (PSI) coordinators. PSI provides support, encouragement and information about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including postpartum depression. Visit or call 1-800-944-4773 for local help.

IF YOU BELIEVE YOU MAY HARM YOURSELF OR YOUR BABY, CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER, 911 OR GO TO THE NEAREST EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT.

Our Providers

Find Pregnancy and Childbirth providers in Central Pa.

Our Locations

PinnacleHealth Psychological Associates
1000 Bent Creek Blvd
Suite 10
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Phone: 717-988-9460
Fax: 717-221-5422

PinnacleHealth Psychological Associates
Located at Brady Building
205 South Front Street
5th floor
Harrisburg, PA 17104

Phone: 717-231-8360
Fax: 717-231-8358
24/7 on-call emergency coverage with a therapist is available.

PinnacleHealth Psychological Associates
2640 Carnegie Road
York, PA 17402

Phone: 717-755-0921

UPMC Pinnacle Women's Behavioral Health Specialists
150 Corporate Center Drive
Suite 202
Camp Hill, PA 17011

Phone: 717-988-9430

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