We investigated associations between aspects of childbirth and elevated postpartum symptoms of depression and anxiety. We employed secondary analysis of perinatal data (N = 4657–4946) from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) birth cohort. Multivariable logistic regression models (adjusted for covariates) examined predictors of elevated symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety. Predictors included the following: type of delivery (normal physiological vs. interventive non-physiological), immediate postpartum complications, and maternal perception of the recent birth experience. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale assessed elevated symptoms of depression (score ≥ 13), and the Crown-Crisp Experiential Index assessed elevated symptoms of anxiety (score ≥ 9) at 2 and 8 months after delivery. A more negative perception of the recent birth experience was associated with elevated symptoms of anxiety at 2 months [odds ratio (OR) 1.52, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.25–1.85] and 8 months (OR 1.30, 95 % CI 1.06–1.60) postpartum but was not associated with elevated symptoms of depression at either time point. Type of delivery (physiological vs. non-physiological) and immediate postpartum complications were not associated with elevated symptoms of depression or anxiety. Our findings suggest that improving women’s childbirth experience may decrease the likelihood of postpartum anxiety, but not postpartum depression.