Statistics on Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a condition that takes many forms and can remain undiagnosed for long periods of time.
Awareness of postpartum depression first arose in the late 1980s. Since then, many studies have been conducted on its incidence, risk factors, and successful treatment rates among the world’s population.
Sadly, it’s believed that postpartum depression is much more common than the data reveals. Some healthcare providers believe the condition’s prevalence could be at least twice as much as what is actually reported and diagnosed. If postpartum depression symptoms go unreported and untreated, they cannot be accounted for in public health statistics.
Regardless, the numerous studies conducted on this condition have provided important statistics that shed light on the pervasiveness and magnitude of a global mental health issue.
Quick Postpartum Depression Facts and Statistics
- Approximately 1 in 10 women will experience postpartum depression after giving birth, with some studies reporting 1 in 7 women.
- Postpartum depression generally lasts 3 to 6 months. However, this varies based on several factors.
- It is estimated that nearly 50% of mothers with postpartum depression are not diagnosed by a health professional.
- 80% of women with postpartum depression will achieve a full recovery.
Postpartum Depression Statistics in the U.S.
While exact postpartum depression rates are unknown, there are some generally agreed-upon figures about the number of women who experience postpartum depression annually.
One recent study found that 1 in 7 women may experience postpartum depression in the year after giving birth. With approximately 4 million live births occurring annually 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 U.S.
International Postpartum Depression Statistics Worldwide
Postpartum depression is a global issue as well. The condition affects tens if not hundreds of millions annually if all countries are accounted for.
Postpartum Depression Statistics in Canada
- Data released in 2019 indicates that 23% of new mothers in Canada experienced symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety after childbirth.
- Younger mothers — ages 25 and below — were more likely to develop postpartum depression or anxiety. The prevalence for this group was 30% compared to 23% for other age groups.
- Over 30% of new mothers with postpartum depression or anxiety also had a depressive disorder or mood disorder before pregnancy and delivery.
Postpartum Depression Statistics in the UK
- Similar to the U.S., the number of new mothers in the UK who experience postpartum depression, also called perinatal depression, is around 1 in 10.
- Approximately 1 in 8 British women also experience depression during pregnancy (antenatal depression).
- The Royal College of Psychiatrists reports that around 25% of women with postpartum depression still experience symptoms after their new baby turns one.
Postpartum Depression Statistics in Australia
- According to data from the 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey, approximately 56,000 new mothers reported having a postpartum depression diagnosis.
- In Australia, around 1 in 5 women do not receive proper prenatal and postnatal follow-up screenings. This includes high-risk groups of women, such as those with reported emotional distress and a family history of depression.
- Postpartum depression symptoms began during pregnancy for roughly 40% of Australian women.
Postpartum Depression Statistics in the Philippines
- A multicenter study published in 2019 reported that 16.4% of new mothers in the Philippines experienced postpartum depression at the 6-week mark following delivery.
- In 2007, the Thirteenth Congress of the Republic of the Philippines introduced the Postpartum Depression Research Act of 2007, designed to conduct and support research surrounding postpartum conditions.
Postpartum Depression Statistics by Race
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.
Postpartum Depression Statistics: Special Circumstances
Postpartum depression doesn’t only affect new mothers. Below, learn more about the rates of postpartum depression among new fathers and adoptive parents.
Statistics on Postpartum Depression in Men
Studies have found that around 50% of men who have partners diagnosed with postpartum depression will go on to develop depression themselves.
Statistics on Postpartum Depression in Adoptive Parents
Some studies have shown that rates of postpartum depression in adoptive parents can be comparable to rates in biological mothers.
On the other hand, one 1995 study found that roughly 8% of adoptive parents experienced severe postpartum depression. This significantly contrasts the condition’s prevalence in biological mothers in the same study, 16.5%.
Additionally, according to a study published in the journal Archives of Women’s Mental Health, “adoptive women reported significantly greater well-being than postpartum women.”
The stressors that adoptive parents face differ from those faced by biological parents, which may contribute to these differing rates. For example, adoptive parents tend to be characterized by higher income levels and occupational status, as well as a lack of delivery complications and hormonal changes following childbirth.
Despite the disparities between postpartum biological mothers and adoptive mothers, the stressful life events that accompany new parenthood can be extremely difficult to navigate. New parents — mothers, fathers, biological, or adoptive — who are struggling with major depression or anxiety deserve support and assistance.
Statistics on Postpartum Depression Types
Part of spreading awareness about postpartum depression is understanding that this condition can take many forms. Here are some statistics regarding the rates and risk factors of specific types of postpartum depression.
Postpartum Blues Statistics
- Also called ‘baby blues,’ postpartum blues impacts approximately 50% to 75% of new mothers, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Many of these women will experience the more severe condition of postpartum depression or a related condition.
- Baby blues tends to set in around 1 to 4 days after giving birth.
- Without treatment, postpartum blues usually lasts only 1 to 2 weeks after delivery.
Postpartum Anxiety Statistics
- Roughly 75% of women with maternal depression also had signs of postpartum anxiety disorder, according to a study published in the journal Acta Clinica Croatica.
- According to a 2016 study, 17% of postpartum women experienced anxiety and similar mental disorders within the first 3 months after giving birth.
Postpartum OCD Statistics
- Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is believed to occur in 3% to 5% of childbearing women.
- For women with a past history of OCD, the likelihood that they will experience recurrent OCD following childbirth is 25% to 75%.
- When OCD symptoms develop in postpartum women after delivery, they tend to persist for at least 6 months.
Postpartum Panic Disorder Statistics
- Approximately 7% of new mothers develop postpartum panic disorder after childbirth.
- The symptoms of postpartum panic disorder typically appear only a few days after giving birth. However, some women experience symptoms for the first time later, anytime during the first year of motherhood.
- In many cases, postpartum panic attacks last between 20 and 30 minutes.
Postpartum PTSD Statistics
- Almost 1 in 10 women will experience postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after delivery.
- Around 30% of new mothers experiencing complications during pregnancy or delivery meet partial criteria for PTSD.
Postpartum Psychosis Statistics
- 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.
Postpartum Depression Suicide Rates
- According to a Canadian study, the most at-risk time for suicide among postpartum women was 9 to 12 months after giving birth.
- Over 60% of women who took their own life during the postpartum period had not seen a mental health care provider within the month leading up to their death.
- Over the past decade, suicide attempts during and after pregnancy have nearly tripled.
Statistics on Postpartum Depression Risk Factors
There is no known cause of postpartum depression. Instead, there are a number of risk factors — such as health problems occurring during labor and a lack of social support — that increase your likelihood of developing it.
Here are some statistics regarding specific potential causes and risk factors for postpartum depression.
Medical History 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 pregnant woman has experienced postpartum depression with previous births, she has an increased risk (10% to 50%) of experiencing it again.
- It is believed that 50% of women who develop postpartum depression begin experiencing symptoms during pregnancy. This proves the case for early symptom recognition, depression screening, and access to treatment options.
Environmental Risk Factors
- While postpartum depression 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 that 25% of people with a lower income level and lack access to quality health care and education will develop postpartum depression.
- One study found that new moms of low socioeconomic status were 11 times more likely to develop postpartum depression symptoms than women of higher socioeconomic status.
Postpartum Depression and Breastfeeding Statistics
A 2021 study conducted by researchers at Florida Atlantic University found that current breastfeeding status played a role in the risk of postpartum depression among new mothers.
In fact, breastfeeding women had a significantly lower risk of postpartum depression than women not breastfeeding. Further, the longer a mother breastfed, the lower her risk of postpartum depression.
More research is needed to understand the relationship between postpartum depression and breastfeeding across various subgroups of women.
Statistics of Postpartum Depression Treatment
From these facts and statistics, it’s easy to see how prevalent postpartum depression is globally. Awareness, screening tools, risk prediction, and early diagnosis and treatment can all help improve these concerning numbers regarding women’s health.
As with all forms of mental illnesses, early recognition and treatment of postpartum depression can lead to better symptom management and faster recovery rates. Treatment for this condition may include psychiatry, psychotherapy, support groups, and/or antidepressants. Regardless, it’s never too late to seek help.
Consult with your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression. Get started on the path toward treatment today.