Who is at risk?
While no one is immune to PPD, some factors can increase the risk for many people, such as:
-A history of depression during or after previous pregnancies
-Previous bipolar episodes
-A family history of mental health issues
-Experiencing significant life stressors during or after pregnancy such as job loss, death of a loved one, or domestic violence
-Medical issues during the pregnancy
-Traumatic birth experience
-A lack of support system
-A history of substance abuse
PPD usually begins within a month after childbirth, but it can present anytime during the first year. It’s likely to be caused by a mixture of emotional and physical factors. A woman’s body undergoes considerable hormonal changes after giving birth, and these changes can lead to erratic behavior and drastic mood swings. In addition, the sleep deprivation that comes along with having a newborn baby can exacerbate many of the symptoms of PPD.
Mothers dealing with postpartum may also struggle with bonding and doubt their ability to care for their new baby. In the most severe cases of postpartum, a new mom may have thoughts of harming herself or her child, which is why early treatment of PPD is vital.