Symptoms of postpartum depression can include insomnia, irritability, exhaustion, sudden mood changes, unexplained feelings of sadness and hopelessness, and intrusive thoughts. New parents with postpartum depression may find online therapy helpful.
To make our selection of the best online therapy options for postpartum depression, we consulted healthcare professionals for their recommendations.
Some key factors taken into account include:
Pricing. Therapy can be pricey, so we tried to include a variety of online postpartum therapy platforms to suit people’s budgets.
Insurance. Some platforms may accept insurance, but it mostly depends on your network. We added some options for people who want their appointments covered by their health insurance.
Vetting. Every product and service, including those on our list, has been vetted for business and medical standards by Healthline’s team editorial team. Read more about our product selection process here.
Privacy. When using online therapy, it’s important for your data and information to be properly protected. Each platform on our list has a robust protection policy in place to ensure your personal details remain private.
We also consulted medical studies and resources to back up our information. We explored a range of treatment options at a variety of price points so people can access the services they need.
Postpartum depression involves significant symptoms of depression after the birth of a new baby.
“The symptoms can cause new moms to experience depression and to have fears and worries about their abilities as a mother, and to feel detached from, not interested in, or fearful of their baby,” says clinical psychologist Erin O’Callaghan, director of therapy for Brightside.
People who are pregnant can also experience depressive symptoms, and that’s called prenatal depression.
People who have perinatal depression begin to experience symptoms either during pregnancy or within 4 weeks after delivery, though symptoms can also show up months after giving birth. Symptoms can last for several months or longer, says O’Callaghan.
A 2017 research review has shown that a variety of factors might affect who experiences postpartum depression.
“Risk factors include a history of depression, anxiety, or other mood disorder (both personal or family history), limited support in caring for your baby, financial or marital stress, medical complications during the pregnancy or during the delivery, challenges with or feelings of inadequacy related to breastfeeding,” says Gareen Hamalian, a psychiatrist with Doctor on Demand.
Other factors include:
experiencing recent major life changes, including losses, moves, and social isolation due to a pandemic
giving birth to multiple babies
having infants who need to remain in the hospital due to medical issues
experiencing a complicated fertility journey
having an untreated medical issue such as a thyroid disorder or diabetes
Simply the transition to becoming a mother, and the impact on family dynamics, can play a role as well.
being unable to concentrate or make simple decisions
having no interest in things you used to enjoy
feeling disconnected from your baby
feeling overwhelmed, guilty, and hopeless
withdrawing because you’re afraid to open up to anyone in case they think you’re a bad parent
wanting to escape from everyone and everything
having intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or your baby
Online therapy isn’t for emergencies
If you’re having a mental health crisis or experiencing feelings or intentions of violence toward yourself or others, or if someone you know is expressing those feelings, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or call 911.
Online therapy is an accessible form of therapy, which might be particularly beneficial to new parents who are experiencing postpartum depression.
Online therapy has the potential to help many people with postpartum depression. “Telepsychiatry and teletherapy have helped save lives,” says Leela R. Magavi, MD, regional medical director for Community Psychiatry. “Thanks to various technological platforms, we have been able to prescribe medications and provide therapy to patients in a safe manner.”
Teletherapy allows doctors to care for individuals who live in regions with limited therapists and resources. “Many women open up more as they feel comfortable and safe in their own home,” Magavi adds.
Symptoms of perinatal depression can start anytime during pregnancy or the year after. If you are worried, or if your loved ones are expressing concerns about your mood, it’s worth getting evaluated. You can likely benefit from treatment.
When picking the best online therapy platform for postpartum depression, you’ll want to consider the following factors:
Pricing. First, you’ll want to come up with a budget that best fits your financial situation and ensure that the platform you’re considering fits within it. Therapy appointments can occur as often as once a week, so before you establish a relationship with your therapist or counselor, you’ll want to consider the cadence you prefer and if the service falls within that budget.
Services offered. Your ultimate decision may depend on what services are offered. For instance, if you’re looking for support, you may opt for a service that highlights virtual support groups and forums. However, if you need medication and psychiatric services, you may want to pick a platform that has both talk therapy and psychiatry.
Insurance. If your insurance network covers teletherapy appointments, pick a platform that accepts insurance.
Whether or not you can change or pick your therapist. Picking your own therapist may be important to you. In that case, choose a platform that allows you to do that.
Online therapy offers many benefits, especially flexibility and accessibility, as you can schedule sessions around your timetable and from the comfort of your own home.
“Online therapy can be incredibly convenient for busy parents. You can meet with your care team from the comfort of home without worrying about driving to an office or inconvenient appointment times that might interrupt your baby’s nap or feedings. [Postpartum depression] is a condition that requires a supportive, personalized, and evidence-based approach to treatment,” O’Callaghan says.
Indeed, benefits of online therapy include:
access to specialists, such as psychiatrists trained in reproductive health, who might not be available in your immediate area
no travel costs
convenience of being able to stay in the comfort of your own home and close to your baby
flexibility with scheduling
A 2016 trial found that online therapy was beneficial to patients experiencing postpartum depression. In the study, the convenience of accessing therapy at home was especially important to new parents.
Meanwhile, a 2020 review of 17 studies demonstrated that electronically delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (eCBT) was more effective than face-to-face CBT at reducing depression symptom severity.
Whether or not your insurance will cover online therapy depends on a number of factors. It’s best to contact your provider to find out whether a particular service is covered by your plan. Some platforms readily accept insurance, while others are transparent about requiring payment upfront.
If you’re unsure of your coverage, contact your insurance provider and ask about a particular treatment or service.
Does online therapy really work?
Studies have shown that online therapy is a highly effective option. In fact, online therapy offers several benefits that a face-to-face session doesn’t have.
Communicating with a therapist via video or phone is convenient and comfortable — perks that are especially helpful for a new parent — and many people find that it’s easier to talk about difficult subjects from a distance.
How does online therapy work?
For the most part, online therapy is just like regular therapy. The big difference is that online therapy happens over a video call or a phone call instead of in the therapist’s office.
Your therapist will send you a link for the video call that you can access from your computer or phone. At the time of the appointment, you’ll log on, and your therapist will handle the session from there.
As postpartum depression affects so many people, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Help is available. With access to free resources to paid therapy sessions, those dealing with the symptoms of postpartum depression can find support, advice, and treatment online — fitting around your busy schedule.
Amy Mackelden is the weekend editor at Harper’s BAZAAR, and her bylines include Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, ELLE, The Independent, Nicki Swift, Bustle, xoJane, and HelloGiggles. She’s written about health for MS Society, MS Trust, The Checkup, The Paper Gown, Folks, HelloFlo, Greatist, and Byrdie. She has an unhealthy love for the “Saw” movies and previously spent all her money on Kylie Cosmetics.
Last medically reviewed on August 2, 2023
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