Postpartum depression: what we know

J Clin Psychol. 2009 Dec;65(12):1258-69. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20644.


Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious mental health problem. It is prevalent, and offspring are at risk for disturbances in development. Major risk factors include past depression, stressful life events, poor marital relationship, and social support. Public health efforts to detect PPD have been increasing. Standard treatments (e.g., Interpersonal Psychotherapy) and more tailored treatments have been found effective for PPD. Prevention efforts have been less consistently successful. Future research should include studies of epidemiological risk factors and prevalence, interventions aimed at the parenting of PPD mothers, specific diathesis for a subset of PPD, effectiveness trials of psychological interventions, and prevention interventions aimed at addressing mental health issues in pregnant women.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / therapy
  • Education
  • Family Conflict / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Psychotherapy
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support