Postpartum Depression and Progesterone, what’s the link?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common condition that affects many new mothers, affecting up to 1 in 7 postpartum mothers. It can result in anxiety, sadness, and overwhelm, making it difficult to take care of yourself and your baby. Postpartum depression may be caused by a number of factors, but recent research suggests low levels of progesterone may be one contributing factor.

Progesterone is a hormone that is produced by the ovaries and is essential for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. It helps to thicken the lining of the uterus and prepare the body for implantation and pregnancy. Progesterone remains high throughout pregnancy, but levels drop sharply after birth, which can lead to a range of physical and emotional symptoms.

Symptoms of postpartum depression:

  • Low/depressed mood
  • Loss of interest in things you’d normally enjoy
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Fatigue/brain fog
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Suicidal ideation

Treatment Options for PPD:

Despite the fact that progesterone supplementation is not often the first line of treatment for PPD, it may be helpful for some women, particularly those whose progesterone levels are low. It is important to note, however, that progesterone supplementation should only be done under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Progesterone can also be supported through nutrition and lifestyle changes. Foods that can help support the body’s natural production of progesterone are those that are high in magnesium, vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin B6.

While hormone balancing therapy can be beneficial for women struggling with PPD, there are many other treatments available for postpartum depression, including therapy and medication. It is important for women who are experiencing postpartum depression to seek help and support from their healthcare providers, friends, and family members.

There are many things that women can do to support their progesterone and overall mental health during the postpartum period. These may include getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and connecting with other new mothers or your community for support.

If You’re Struggling:

Postpartum depression can be a challenging condition, but you are not alone and there are treatment options available. If you're struggling with depressive symptoms, reach out to your healthcare provider or schedule with our women's health physician at Natural Kid Doc to discuss what treatments are best for you. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or ideation, you can reach out for help at the National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255.


Trifu S, Vladuti A, Popescu A. THE NEUROENDOCRINOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF PREGNANCY AND POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION. Acta Endocrinol (Buchar). 2019;15(3):410-415. doi:10.4183/aeb.2019.410

Mughal S, Azhar Y, Siddiqui W. Postpartum Depression. [Updated 2022 Oct 7]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

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