Postnatal depression is very common and affects between ten to fifteen in every one hundred women who have had a baby.

For some mothers it can start while pregnant, but more commonly it starts at around 4-6 weeks after giving birth, and can last for a long time without effective treatment. It is normal to feel tired and emotional after giving birth and overwhelmed with becoming a parent. However for some people these thoughts and feelings can last and can become all-consuming; they are not merely a case of ‘baby blues’.

Fathers can also be affected by postnatal depression although they cannot be given a formal diagnosis of this.

Symptoms of postnatal depression can include:

  • Feeling sad and low
  • Tearful for no apparent reason
  • Not feeling able to cope
  • Hostile or indifferent towards your partner and/or baby
  • Feeling hopeless about the future
  • Feelings of guilt, anger and irritable
  • Little or no motivation to do things

Some parents may worry that they might harm their baby, though this is very rare. But if you are experiencing these feelings please seek support and tell someone about how you are feeling.

Helpful Contacts

Action on Postpartum PsychosisNational charity for women and families affected by postpartum psychosis
Association for Postnatal IllnessProvides support to mothers suffering from post-natal illness
Birth RightsEnsures women and birthing people receive the respect and dignity they deserve in pregnancy and childbirth
Birth TraumaSupports women who suffer birth trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after birth
BUMPS (Best use of Medicines in Pregnancy)Reliable, evidence-based, and accurate information about use of medicines in pregnancy
Fathers Network ScotlandPromotes the physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing of fathers in Scotland
LATNEMSafe and free peer support group for mums and birthing people in the North East of Scotland
LGBT MUMMIES TRIBEProvides information, guidance, and knowledge for LGBT+ women and people worldwide on the different pathways to motherhood or parenthood
Maternal Mental Health AllianceUK-wide charity and network of over 100 organisations, dedicated to ensuring women and families affected by perinatal mental health problems have access to high quality, comprehensive perinatal mental health care
Maternal Mental Health ScotlandProvides information to women affected by perinatal mental health issues, their partners, families and the general public
Maternal OCDProvides information and support to mums and families about perinatal OCD
PANDAS (PND Awareness & Support)Offers support, empathy, and hope for every parent or network affected by perinatal mental illness
Parent ClubProvides up-to-date guidance from the Scottish Government on your child's health and education
Shetland SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death)1:1 befriending for families who have been through the loss of a baby
The Breastfeeding NetworkAn independent source of support and information for breastfeeding women and others
Tommy’sSupport for anyone who has experienced the loss of a baby, whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, or termination for medical reasons
Twins TrustMaternity support and free resources through every milestone of your journey with twins, triplets or more