Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression

Data highlight

In a study of 30 states, Oklahoma was found to have the 8th-highest rate of postpartum depression at 16.1%. Vermont has the lowest rate at 8.7%, and Idaho has the highest with 25.4%


Percentage of people experiencing depression up to one year after termination of pregnancy

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Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder that affects some individuals after pregnancy. It is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, and fatigue that can impact a person’s ability to care for themselves and their newborn.

PPD can occur up to 1 year after the end of a pregnancy, but it most commonly starts about 1–3 weeks after childbirth. It’s more severe and persistent than the “baby blues,” which is a common and milder mood disturbance that many new parents experience.

Why we care:

Pregnancy and birth are physically and mentally demanding. 

During pregnancy and after giving birth, hormones and sleep patterns change, and new stresses can emerge like additional financial concerns, returning to work, and finding and paying for reliable childcare options. Additionally, if a woman has experienced depression-like symptoms before pregnancy, those symptoms can also reemerge or increase during pregnancy. 

Perinatal mental health disorders like postpartum depression are commonly underreported and underscreened. In 2019, the Oklahoma state legislature passed SB 419, requiring physicians to screen women for depression during pregnancy and pediatricians to screen mothers during their children’s well baby visits

Still, only 58.1% of new mothers were screened for postpartum depression in Oklahoma from 2018-2021. The consistent screening required by SB 419 will help the state have a better picture of how many women are really struggling with depression after giving birth.

Many Oklahoman parents are covered by SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, during their pregnancy (see Women Enrolled in Medicaid/SoonerCare). Extensions and expansions of the program over the past several years, some specifically targeted toward pregnant and postpartum Oklahomans, were important steps towards improving maternal healthcare and addressing the high postpartum depression rates in the state. 

Oklahoma is taking proactive measures to enhance the well-being of mothers and infants through extended postpartum coverage, increased income thresholds, and a more comprehensive range of services including doula care.


While postpartum depression is the most common mental health condition in the perinatal period, it is not the only one. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) can also include anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and psychosis. 

More comprehensive and consistent reporting of other PMADs, especially on the state level, would help paint a more comprehensive picture of perinatal mental health concerns.

What we can do:

This issue brief was written by Metriarch staff as part of our Data Lookbook.  Contributions and peer review provided by Leah Meyer, MS, LPC, PMH-C, at Family & Children’s Services.

Suggested citation
 Metriarch. “Mental Health,” Data Lookbook (2024). URL:

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