Are You at Risk for Postpartum Depression?

Written by: Megan Stander


Time to Read: 4 min

Motherhood is an experience marked by joy, anticipation, and profound changes. However, amidst this transformative period, it's crucial to acknowledge and understand the potential risk factors that can contribute to postpartum depression.

Around 1 in 7 women can develop postpartum depression (PPD). While the stats can vary (because a lot of cases go undiagnosed and unreported due to the stigma associated with acknowledging depression when a baby is supposed to be the harbinger of happiness), the problem is very real. It can start with baby blues which usually go away in a couple weeks. 

When left unchecked, the overwhelming postpartum emotions can quickly veer to anxiety and depression impeding a woman's ability to recover and function normally.

Here are a few key factors that can put you at risk for Postpartum Depression:

Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression

As we delve into the intricate web of maternal well-being, it becomes apparent that certain factors can amplify the vulnerability to this condition. Exploring these risk factors postpartum depression is not only a step towards fostering awareness but also a means to provide support and empowerment to those navigating the complexities of postpartum mental health.


Raising Mama - psychological factors - Risk for Postpartum Depression

A history of depression, anxiety, sexual abuse, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), can play a big role in elevating your risk for developing PPD or postpartum depression. Along with this your personal attitude towards pregnancy (say, you did not want the pregnancy, or had a rough and high-risk pregnancy) or the presence of persistent negative feelings over a longer stretch of time can severely impact your mind after the baby is born.

Obstetric and Hormonal

Raising Mama - Risk for Postpartum Depression

Complications that arise during pregnancy and childbirth such as an emergency C-Section, long labor and traumatic birth experience, pre-term or low birth weight baby, low hemoglobin, high blood pressure, obesity, asthma, infections, can lead to heightened stress and anxiety, potentially triggering or exacerbating PPD.

While primarily a physiological factor, hormonal fluctuations during and after pregnancy can have a profound impact on mood and emotional well-being. These changes can interact with psychological factors, intensifying the risk of PPD.


Raising Mama - social factors - Risk for Postpartum Depression

The absence of social support is a major contributor to the onset of postpartum depression. Lack of care and support group or help with baby and household chores can overwhelm any new mother. Besides these, factors like verbal or physical violence, spousal abuse, or the absence of a partner to get her through this phase can also contribute to PPD.


Raising Mama- lifestyle factors - Postpartum Depression

Your habits and lifestyle can determine if you could be at risk for PPD. Smoking, irregular sleep patterns, poor diet, and lack of physical activity can increase depressive symptoms and hamper your mental well-being.

It's great if you have the right support, lifestyle, health and mindset. But on the off chance you don't, there is no need to be afraid. If you think you could be at risk for PPD, get ahead and start working on finding a system and solution that works for you. Making small lifestyle changes, asking for help, meditation and repeating self-affirmations can have a positive influence on your physical and mental health.

Understanding these factors is crucial for healthcare professionals, support networks, and the individuals themselves. Early identification and appropriate intervention can help mitigate the impact of these factors on postpartum mental health, promoting a more positive and supportive transition to motherhood.

A great way to and smoothen your transition to motherhood would be through our postpartum planning workbook. Download it for free and instantly get in-depth guidance so that you can truly enjoy the sweetest moments of new motherhood with your newborn without feeling overwhelmed. 

Keep in touch with Raising Mama for the community support and a world of updated information, expert advice from professionals, resources to guide you through the fourth trimester, and much more.

What are the primary risk factors for Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

The primary risk factors for PPD include a history of depression or anxiety, previous sexual abuse, challenging pregnancy experiences, psychological attitudes towards pregnancy, complications during childbirth, social factors like lack of support or experiencing abuse, and lifestyle habits such as smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise.

How can one identify if they are at risk for Postpartum Depression?

Identifying if you are at risk for PPD involves self-reflection and awareness of one's mental health history, experiences during pregnancy, the presence of supportive relationships, and lifestyle habits. It's important to be mindful of persistent negative feelings, changes in sleep or appetite, and feelings of overwhelming anxiety or sadness.

Are there ways to mitigate the risk of developing Postpartum Depression?

Yes, mitigating the risk of PPD can involve making lifestyle changes such as improving diet and exercise habits, establishing a solid support system, seeking therapy or counseling if needed, preparing for motherhood with resources like a postpartum planning workbook, and engaging in stress-reduction practices like meditation and affirmations.

What should someone do if they suspect they're at risk for or are experiencing Postpartum Depression?

If someone suspects they're at risk for or are experiencing PPD, they should reach out for professional help immediately. This can include talking to a healthcare provider, seeking counseling or therapy, and connecting with support groups. It's also beneficial to communicate openly with family and friends about their needs and to utilize resources designed to help new mothers navigate postpartum challenges.

How does Raising Mama support new mothers who might be facing Postpartum Depression?

Raising Mama provides community support, updated information, and expert advice to new mothers. It offers resources like a postpartum planning workbook to help mothers transition smoothly into motherhood, as well as guidance through the fourth trimester. Their platform encourages reaching out for help and promotes mental health awareness among new parents.