Postpartum Expert?
Check out our new directory!
Join now »

Can Postpartum Depression Be Delayed? Know the Signs

new mom with postpartum depression sitting on the couch

After birth, we’re told to be vigilant about signs of postpartum depression, but not many realize that postpartum mood disorders can occur up to 18 months (or more) after birth.

Welcoming a new baby into the family can be among the most joyous times imaginable. Still, for many mothers, the reality of the situation ends up being so far from this.

Postpartum depression is a condition that affects about 1 in 7 women, and every mother’s experience is likely to be vastly different from the next.  

Editor’s note: this article is for informational purposes and is not medical advice. If you believe you or someone you know is struggling with postpartum depression, please seek proper medical care and treatment. This article is not intended to diagnose postpartum depression.

new mom with postpartum depression sitting on the couch

You might have wondered, “can postpartum depression be delayed?” The answer is yes, as delayed PPD can occur many months after giving birth.

Since the “thick” of the postpartum period is typically considered the 6 to 8 weeks following birth, this delayed onset of postpartum depression can be a surprise.

This is why it’s helpful to be as prepared as possible and to have resources available in case this is something you or a loved one experiences.

We will explore what delayed postpartum depression is, the signs of it to look out for, and what you can do to alleviate its symptoms.

How late can you get postpartum depression?

There is no one-size-fits-all timeline when it comes to postpartum depression.

While some women may start experiencing symptoms within the first few weeks after giving birth, others may not notice them until several months later. This delay in onset can be confusing and frustrating, especially for mothers who thought they had made it through the postpartum period without developing PPD.

It’s important to know that just because you may develop delayed onset postpartum depression, this does not mean your experience is any less valid or deserving of unwavering support.

It’s essential to be prepared and know that postpartum depression can develop up to 18 months after giving birth and sometimes even later than this.

Hormones, the overwhelm of modern parenthood, sleep deprivation, and more can cause PMADs to develop later in postpartum.

Read next: Your Postpartum Hormone Timeline

If you’re a mother, especially for the first time, and you’re concerned about potentially developing postpartum depression, it’s vital to be aware of the signs and symptoms of PMADs so you can seek help as soon as possible – no matter how far along you are postpartum.

mom with hands on head leaning by the bed

Can you have delayed PPD?

Postpartum depression does not have to arrive immediately after birth for it to occur.

PPD can be delayed – it’s not uncommon for moms to start noticing symptoms several weeks or months after having their baby.

As mentioned above, this delayed onset can be caused by factors aside from hormonal fluctuations, such as sleep deprivation, the physical changes in your body you’re getting accustomed to, and of course, having a new child to care for.

It’s important to know that just because you may develop delayed onset postpartum depression, this does not mean your experience is any less valid or deserving of unwavering support.

Whether you’re feeling the first symptoms of PPD a couple of weeks or several months down the line, know that you are not alone, and there are resources out there to help you.

If you’re concerned about the possibility of postpartum depression, don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider or a mental health professional so you can understand your symptoms better, receive support, and connect with more resources in your community.

introducing the postpartum mental health guide with shop now button

Signs of delayed postpartum depression

It can be so helpful to know the signs of delayed postpartum depression to look out for so you’re not utterly blindsided if it does begin to creep up on you.

The arrival of a new baby can bring about a range of emotions as your daily routine is being adjusted, which can understandably impact your mental health.

Delayed postpartum depression can include feelings of:

  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Overwhelm
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

These feelings might linger no matter what, even after several weeks or months postpartum. If this is you, you may be experiencing delayed postpartum depression.

Some other common signs of delayed PPD include:

  • A lack of interest in bonding with your baby
  • Feeling generally disconnected or numb
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Severe changes in appetite
  • Headaches and stomach aches

If you notice any of these symptoms within yourself in the months after giving birth, know that you’re not alone, and it does not mean you are any less of an incredible mom.

See Also
mom in eye mask sleeping on the bed

Your symptoms can be managed with the proper support and resources, which is why it’s so helpful to reach out to a trusted mental health professional or healthcare provider if you’re experiencing delayed postpartum depression.

depressed mom laying in bed

What to do to help delayed PPD

If you or someone you know is experiencing delayed PPD, there are always things you can do to help.

First and foremost, seeking help from a healthcare provider or mental health professional is essential as soon as you suspect something isn’t right. They can help you create a plan for managing your symptoms and provide support and appropriate resources.

Some self-care practices may help alleviate some of the symptoms of delayed postpartum depression, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and engaging in regular physical activity once you’re healed enough to do so.

It’s also so crucial to make time for yourself and engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, whatever that may be. Spending time with friends or family, participating in your favorite hobbies, or relaxing the way you like are all great ways to get more in touch with yourself.

If you can, ask for childcare or household help from loved ones, or reach out to have someone you’re close with to talk.

Prioritizing your well-being is how you’ll eventually be able to show up in the other ways you may want to, so take the time you need for yourself if you’re experiencing delayed PPD.

mom in yellow sweater playing with toddler son

Final thoughts on postpartum mental health and delayed PPD

So, can postpartum depression be delayed? We now know that, yes, it absolutely can be.

Delayed PPD can be a challenging condition that parents face, but it’s essential to know that it is possible to manage and overcome it.

Remember, taking care of your mental health is as important as your physical health, especially during this transitional time. By reaching out for professional help, you can find the road leading to a much brighter and healthier future for you and your family.

You are never alone in what you’re going through, and it’s never too late to seek the help you need.

Other postpartum mental health articles you might find helpful

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2023 Hello Postpartum™. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top