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In day-to-day life, it is normal to experience some variation in mood.  At times, women may experience mild mood changes related to their reproductive cycle, during pregnancy and after the birth of a baby.   They cope with these temporary or occasional mood disturbances without too much difficulty.  However, if a woman's mood is depressed for two weeks or more and significantly impacts her ability to carry on her normal activities such as work, school, childcare, home or social activities, or it causes significant emotional distress, it is important to seek help. Early treatment can help.  Any woman concerned about her mood should talk to her healthcare provider; it is never too late to seek help.

What is a Depressive Disorder?

Depression is a very common mental health disorder.  It is twice as common in women as in men.  It is known that some women are more sensitive to changes in hormone levels that can affect their mood.  Normal hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy and after childbirth can trigger significant mood changes in those women who are vulnerable.  

The following pages provide information on depression during pregnancy, in the postpartum period (after the baby is born) and also during the premenstrual period.