Preventing Postpartum Suicide

Death by suicide or overdose is a leading cause of death for women in the first year after they give birth (WebMD). Suicide is a tragic outcome of untreated postpartum depression, and pregnancy and postpartum are among high-risk time periods for developing depression and its associated symptoms.

Preventing Postpartum Suicide

1 in 8 women experience postpartum depression. Symptoms are similar to symptoms of depression, but can also include crying more than usual, anger, withdrawal, feeling numb or disconnected from your baby, worrying you’ll the baby, or feeling guilty about not being a mom and doubting your ability to care for the baby. While there are risk factors for depression, postpartum depression can also occur among women with healthy pregnancies and birth. These risk factors can include: (CDC)

  • Stressful life events

  • Low support

  • Previous or family history of depression

  • Difficulty getting pregnant

  • Being a teen mom

  • Being a mom to multiples, like twins or triplets

  • Premature labor and delivery

  • Pregnancy and birth complications

  • Having a baby who needs to be hospitalized


Even with increases in new mother suicide deaths and attempts, suicidal thoughts and other symptoms of depression remain majorly undetected and undertreated. 34% of pregnancy-related suicide deaths had a prior suicide attempt (WebMD), indicating that doctors may be able to identify these patients. Many early motherhood deaths may be preventable, and we urge new mothers and their families to seek help early, and as much as you need.

Caring Contact is a crisis hotline and listening community, providing support and education to the central and northern New Jersey community 24/7. For individuals dealing with depression, anxiety, and other sources of stress or suicidal thoughts, Caring Contact provides a non-judgemental and supportive ear. Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at (800) 273-8255, the Caring and Crisis Line 7:00AM – 11:00PM at (908) 232-2880, or text “heart” 24/7 to 741-741.

Walk In Sunshine understands the many losses families experience related to pregnancy and postpartum. We provide a variety of resources on our website for new mothers and their families.