Best Antidepressants for Postpartum Depression  

Editorial Team By Editorial Team

The best antidepressants for postpartum depression will be discussed in this article. Enjoy your reading!

Are you diagnosed with postpartum depression after pregnancy? Do not worry. It is usual to have postpartum depression after delivery. Postpartum depression is very common among new nursing mothers. 

What is Postpartum Depression?

One of the best moments for every mother is having their new baby. This experience is beautiful. Coupled with the body transformation, women in this condition tend to have some behavioral changes. This may be a result of their experience during pregnancy, complications during delivery, or postnatal mental disorders. 

Postpartum depression is normal for women. 15% of people have depression after a child’s delivery. Severe cases are abnormal and are harmful to the nursing mother and sometimes to the baby too. 

People with postpartum depression experience emotional highs and lows, unnecessary worries, stress & confusion. Such women may also suffer from fatigue, guilts, irritability, insomnia, and lack of sleep. 

The reality of postpartum depression is that it is natural. Reports show that not only nursing mothers have postpartum depression. The anxiety disorder can also occur with an adoption child, fosters, or surrogate. 

Postpartum Depression happens to women during the first 3 weeks of delivery. If you’re having any traces of postpartum depression, do not worry. It is biological and will fade away. However, you should be wary of the severe conditions. In case you cannot function properly. You may have to seek the help of a health professional. 

In a nutshell, postpartum depression does not depict any serious health problems. But in severe cases or if it occurs for a long period, you may have to visit a health professional. 

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?

You must know you’re not alone. You’re not the only person suffering from postpartum depression. Do not hide your feelings out of guilt or fear of judgment from anyone. The symptoms are numerous and should be communicated in detail. 

The following are some of the symptoms of postpartum depression. 

  • A guilty conscience and sad emotions. It is also usual to feel worthless and hopeless. 

  • Having excessive worry 

  • Zero interest in almost anything. 

  • You’re hungry but not able to eat? Postpartum depression also comes with a change of appetite. 

  • Lack of motivation or willingness to perform. You may also experience excessive tiredness and lack of energy. 

  • Inability to sleep or excessive sleeping. 

  • Excessive crying or sobering without any reason. 

  • Suicidal thoughts 

  • Loss of interest in your baby. You may feel anxious whenever you’re around your new baby. You can also develop thoughts of hurting your baby. 

All these symptoms are associated with postpartum depression. If you’re experiencing any of them, kindly report to a health professional quickly.

Can Antidepressants Prevent Postpartum Depression? 

Antidepressants are given to women who suffer from postpartum depression. The answer to whether Antidepressants can prevent postpartum depression or not is subjective. 

Generally, Antidepressants are not prescribed to help prevent postpartum depression. They help to treat existing symptoms of postpartum depression. 

When antidepressants are taken, they help to balance the chemicals in your brain. This will in turn help to balance your mood and make you feel relaxed.

What are the factors that increase the risk of postpartum depression after a child’s birth? 

Most cases of postpartum depression are largely associated with loneliness. Having people around you cheer you up is very important. People who lack social support or helping hands tend to suffer more. 

They’re also strong factors that cause postpartum depression. Some of them include;

also suffer from postpartum depression.  

  • People at a young age or who have prior experience 

  •  Babies with special needs, or that who cry a lot. 

  • Violence or disorganized home. It can be with your partner, parents or relatives.

  • Premature child’s birth, complications during pregnancy, or difficulty during delivery. 

Diagnosis for Postpartum Depression 

Diagnosis for postpartum depression is natural. There’s no special method for diagnosing postpartum depression. After a visit to your healthcare provider, you’ll be evaluated. Through questions and answers, he/she can tell. In some cases, you may undergo physical tests like pelvic exams, lab tests, and a lot more. 

Some health professionals do depression screening. You’ll be asked about your health after giving birth and your baby’s condition. Through these questions, they can be able to know if you’ve symptoms of postpartum depression or not. 

NB: You have to be honest in answering the questions. This will help in understanding the clear picture of what is wrong with you. 

Before postpartum depression should be diagnosed for treatment. Proper and careful measures should be taken to differentiate it from other postpartum illnesses. They’re other postpartum mental health disorders like postpartum blues and postpartum psychosis. It should be recognized and given accurate treatment. 

What are the best antidepressants for postpartum depression?

If you’re experiencing any unusual signs of postpartum depression. You have to hurry up and treat it. They’re two effective ways of treating postpartum depression.

You either see a counselor or use medication. In this case, you will have to use antidepressants for postpartum depression. Such antidepressants must be with the prescription of a physician or any health provider.

They’re numerous antidepressants for postpartum depression. A professional expert best prescribes the suitable ones. Do not hesitate to visit a health professional if you’re experiencing any unusual health problems. 

Below are the best antidepressants for postpartum depression;

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs are considered to be one of the best treatments for postpartum depression. When SSRIs are used on a patient with PPD, they affect the brain chemical known as serotonin, a hormone responsible for mood and anxiety. 

Some examples of Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) include:

  • Paroxetine (Paxil), 

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)

  • Sertraline (Zoloft). 

If you’re using an SSRI, it might take up to three to four weeks before you experience any symptoms of relief. Exercise patience and continue the medication until you’re hale and healthy. 

Although SSRIs can have some health risks. However the benefits of taking it exceed the risks. If you’re a nursing mother. It is preferable to take Sertraline because a small portion of it enters the Breast milk. 

If you’re breastfeeding your baby. Make sure you let your health provider know before any medication. Some side effects of SSRI include;

  • Nausea

  • Sexual Problems 

  • Diarrhea

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness etc. 

Serotonin-norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are medications used to treat anxiety and depression. It is also a known medication to treat postpartum depression. 

SNRIs work by raising the serotonin level in the brain. They also affect norepinephrine, another brain chemical responsible for fight or flight response. 

The most common SNRI used to treat postpartum depression is Venlafaxine (Effexor). They’re very effective and often used to treat patients with whom they have worked before. More so, SNRI can only be prescribed for the treatment of postpartum depression if  SSRI isn’t effective. 

The side effects of SNRI are the same as that of SSRI. However, SNRIS may lead to severe cases. 

Note: Both SNRIS and SSRI are used off-label for treatment. They’re not FDA approved to treat postpartum depression. 

Other antidepressants for postpartum depression

Zulresso (brexanolone)

Zulresso (brexanolone) was recently approved in 2019. It is the only medication currently FDA-approved to treat postpartum depression. 

Although the work isn’t fully understood. But it is believed to cause antidepressant effects on the body by acting as GABA receptors

The main side effect of Zulresso is that it can lead to excessive sedation and make you pass out. It also causes dry mouth and flushing of the face or skin.

This is why you’re strongly advised to take Zulresso under the supervision of a health provider. 

Extended-release Bupropion (Wellbutrin SR) & Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

Extended-release bupropion (Wellbutrin SR) & nortriptyline (Pamelor) are also good for the treatment of PPD. They’re not used as the first treatment for postpartum depression. They are sometimes used off-label in the treatment of PPD. 

Bupropion SR

Bupropion SR is a medication for treating major depressive illnesses. Studies also show that Bupropion SR can be used to prevent Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Although no one knows how Bupropion SR fully works. However, it is believed to help increase the amount of norepinephrine and dopamine. 

2005 studies show that Bupropion SR is effective for treating postpartum depression. Although researchers also noted that sertraline & venlafaxine are more effective. 

Side effects include;

  • Nausea

  • Constipation

  • Stomach pain

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Dry mouth

  • Trouble sleeping 

  • Fast or irregular heartbeat etc. 

The Bupropion SR is also proven to be very effective for nursing mothers. But there’s not much information about its efficiency. Make sure you consult your healthcare provider before taking the medication. 


A study done in 2006 shows that Nortriptyline is also a very effective treatment for postpartum depression.  Nortriptyline is a Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). It acts on several chemical messengers in the Central Nervous System, but norepinephrine and sertraline are its primary targets.

The study conducted showed nortriptyline had lookalike improvements in depression symptoms to that of sertraline. However, its side effects are more severe than that of SNRIs. These severe side effects make Nortriptyline not to be the first choice of treatment for PPD.

The most common side effects of Nortriptyline are:

  • Dry mouth

  • Weight changes

  • Blurred vision

  • Sexual problems

  • Nausea, vomiting, 

  • Constipation

  • Drowsiness or dizziness 

Non-medication treatments for Postpartum Depression

If you are uncertain about taking medications for PPD due to its side effect on you or your child, you could opt for alternative treatments which include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Interpersonal Therapy
  • Peer support and nondirective counselling

Cognitive behavioral change (CBT)

CBT also called Talk Therapy- involves discussing with a therapist about negative thought patterns in an attempt to change particular behaviors.

CBT has proved to be a successful treatment option for PPD in several studies. It takes 12 to 16 sessions to complete a course in CBT therapy.

Interpersonal therapy

A form of counselling that focuses on how a person’s mood is affected by events in their lives and interpersonal relationships. A therapy session lasts 12 to 20 weeks.

According to one study, interpersonal therapy combined with postpartum care led to a PPD remission rate of about 60%. This stat is compared with no therapy that had a 48% PPD remission rate with standard care.

Peer support and nondirective counselling

Peer support groups promoted by healthcare professionals can assist you to overcome any stigma you may be feeling from PPD. It can also give you an opportunity of building a social network of people who have similar experiences with PPD.

Additionally, nondirective counselling is a choice if you are looking for an unstructured type of counselling. This is because it allows you to direct the conversation in a judgement-free setting and empathetic environment.

How do Antidepressants help treat postpartum depression?

Most postpartum depression is due to problems associated with neurons. To treat postpartum depression, certain medications like antidepressants are prescribed to alter the neurotransmitters. They’re different types of antidepressants. Some of them work entirely differently from others. 


Postpartum Depression is a severe mental disorder that can affect a nursing mother if not treated. If you’re experiencing any signs of health problems related to postpartum depression, kindly hurry up to any nearby Healthcare center. 

The best antidepressants for postpartum depression that can be used are numerous. Avoid any forms of self medications. Prescriptions should be done by a professional expert. Do not feign to mention all the symptoms for proper diagnosis. 

Above all, make sure you remind the health provider that you’re a nursing mother. The type of antidepressants you’re to take is largely dependent on whether you’re breastfeeding or not.

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