Treatments for Postpartum Depression

If your patient is diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD) after being screened, discuss treatment options with her.

Common treatment modalities include psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, including the use of antidepressants

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Psychotherapy

Several kinds of psychotherapy have been shown to be effective in treating PPD: individual interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and group or family therapy.1

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Pharmacotherapy

Antidepressants are commonly used to treat women experiencing PPD. However, antidepressants are not specifically indicated for PPD.2

ACOG opinion: follow-up care is critical

Treatment does not end after the comprehensive postpartum visit. Postpartum care should be an ongoing process—not just a single visit—with services and support tailored to each woman’s individual needs.3

ACOG recommends that OB/GYNs and other care providers optimize postpartum care by establishing ongoing visits, service, and tailored support. Care would ideally include an assessment at 3 weeks after birth to address acute postpartum issues and a comprehensive visit no later than 12 weeks after birth.3

  1. Perfetti K, Clark R, Fillmore C-M. Postpartum depression: Identification, screening, and treatment. WMJ. 2004;103(6):56-63.
  2. Molyneaux E, Howard LM, McGeown HR, Karia AM, Trevillion K. Antidepressant treatment for postnatal depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(9):CD002018.
  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee opinion: optimizing postpartum care. Obstet Gynecol. 2018;736.