Statistics of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a condition that takes many forms and can remain undiagnosed for long periods of time. Since awareness of postpartum depression first arose in the late 1980s, many studies have been conducted on the prevalence, risk factors and successful treatment rates of it among the world’s population.
Thanks to these studies, we now have important data that sheds light on the pervasiveness and magnitude of this global mental health issue.
Below are some of the top statistics from a number of studies and sources spanning the last several decades.
Statistics on Rates of PPD
While exact postpartum depression rates are unknown, there are some generally agreed upon figures about the number of women who experience postpartum depression annually.
In the United States alone:
- Approximately 70% to 80% of women will experience, at a minimum, the ‘baby blues’. Many of these women will experience the more severe condition of postpartum depression or a related condition.
- The reported rate of clinical postpartum depression among new mothers is between 10% to 20%.
- One recent study found that 1 in 7 women may experience PPD in the year after giving birth. With approximately 4 million live births occurring each year in the United States, this equates to almost 600,000 postpartum depression diagnoses.
It’s important to understand that these numbers only account for live births. Many women who miscarry or have stillbirths experience postpartum depression symptoms as well.
- When including women who have miscarried or have had a stillbirth, around 900,000 women suffer from postpartum depression annually in the US.
Postpartum depression is a global issue as well.
Across the world:
- Postpartum depression affects tens if not hundreds of millions annually if all countries are accounted for.
- One study found that postpartum depression rates in Asian countries could be at 65% or more among new mothers.
Sadly, it is believed that postpartum depression is much more common than these statistics reveal. Some medical experts believe that the rate of postpartum depression could be at least twice as much than what is actually reported and diagnosed. If symptoms go unreported and untreated, they cannot be accounted for in global health statistics.
Another important fact to consider about postpartum depression is that it can affect people from all races, ethnicities, cultures and educational or economic backgrounds. The chart below details the percentages of women of various ethnicities who have been diagnosed with postpartum depression.
Postpartum Depression in New Mothers by Ethnicity/Race
The following data displays the percentages of women with symptoms of postpartum depression among various different ethnic groups.
Additionally, postpartum depression doesn’t only affect new mothers.
Studies have found that:
- Approximately 10% of new fathers experience symptoms of depression during the postpartum period.
- Half of men who have partners with postpartum depression will go on to develop depression themselves.
Some studies have shown that rates of PPD in adoptive parents are comparable to PPD rates in biological mothers. The stressors that adoptive parents face are different than those faced by biological parents. Because there is still a societal stigma around adoptive families, the rates of PPD could be higher in adoptive parents, as many suffer in silence with their symptoms.
- One study found that roughly 8% of adoptive parents experienced severe PPD compared to biological mothers in the same study, who experienced PPD at a rate of 16.5%.
Statistics on PPD Risk Factors
There is no known cause of postpartum depression. Instead, there a number of risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing it.
Here are some statistics regarding specific risk factors.
- Women with a history of depression, anxiety disorders or serious mood disorders are 30% to 35% more likely to develop postpartum depression.
- If a woman has experienced postpartum depression with previous births, she is 10% to 50% more likely to experience it again.
- It is believed that 50% of women who develop postpartum depression began experiencing symptoms during pregnancy. This proves the case for early symptom-recognition, awareness and access to treatment.
- While PPD can affect people of all backgrounds, people in poverty or who have poor access to education and health care may run a higher risk. Data suggests 25% of people of this demographic will develop postpartum depression. One study found that women of low socioeconomic status were 11 times more likely to develop PPD symptoms than women of higher socioeconomic status.
Statistics on PPD Types
Part of spreading awareness about postpartum depression understanding that this condition can take many forms. Here are some statistics regarding the rates and risk factors of specific types of postpartum depression:
- Between 1 and 2 women out of every 1,000 will develop postpartum psychosis—a severe and potentially deadly disorder.
- Women who have a history of bipolar disorder are 40% more likely to develop postpartum psychosis.
- Tragically, 10% of postpartum psychosis cases result in suicide or infanticide.
- One study found that over 60% of women with postpartum depression also had signs of an anxiety disorder, a condition which isn’t always associated with depression.
- Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder is believed to occur in 3% to 5% of childbearing women.
Statistics on PPD Treatment
Ongoing, controlled and professional treatment for postpartum depression is effective at managing and healing the condition over time. It is believed that while there are many diagnosed cases of postpartum depression, only a limited number of women actually receive treatment. The overall success rate for treating postpartum depression is 80%, making it essential for anyone who wants to heal.
As with all forms of mental health conditions, early recognition and treatment of postpartum depression can lead to better symptom management and faster recovery rates.
From these facts and statistics, it’s easy to see how prevalent postpartum depression is on a global scale. Education and awareness, screening and risk prediction, as well as early diagnosis and treatment, can all help to improve these concerning numbers. The sooner treatment starts, the better you can manage your health and well-being. However, it’s never too late to seek help. Consult with your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression.