Postpartum Depression: How to know if you’re at risk
Updated: Jul 18
Getting it out of the way: I’m not a therapist, I am trained in prenatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. This post is not meant to diagnose or treat. Always check with your medical provider.
Postpartum depression affects one in five mothers. Here in Johnson City, Tennessee, there’s no exception. Let’s talk about risk factors related to postpartum depression. As you read, please know that postpartum depression is not your fault and is treatable - we know what you’re going through.
If you’re a dad, read more about risk factors in dads here.
Depression after birth
Instead of you having to sift through bunch of postpartum depression research, here’s a summary of the things that put moms at higher risk for depression in the first year of birth. These risk factors were put together by Postpartum Support International. We'll keep them updated on this blog as Postpartum Support International adds to them.
Something not included in this post is how trauma affects postpartum depression. In addition, some research also suggests that LGBTQ people experience postpartum depression more frequently than heterosexual parents (check out our blog post on LGBTQ parents’ mental health here).
What puts me at risk?
Knowing the risk factors for prenatal and postpartum depression doesn’t mean you are destined to have postpartum depression - it just gives us more information on what your chances are for having postpartum depression.
Research shows that thing listed below put you at higher risk for postpartum depression. I recommend talking to your medical provider if any of these apply to you, so you can make a plan ahead of time.
A personal or family history of depression, anxiety, or postpartum depression
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD or PMS)
Inadequate support in caring for the baby
Complications in pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
A major recent life event: loss, house move, job loss
Mothers of multiples
Mothers whose infants are in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)
Mothers who’ve gone through infertility treatments
Women with a thyroid imbalance
Women with any form of diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational)
Postpartum Depression is treatable
There has been a lot of success in treating postpartum depression. Having risk factors or depression during pregnancy or postpartum can be treated. If you think you’re at risk or aren’t feeling like yourself (check out the symptoms here or here), you’re not to blame and it’s not your fault. Please reach out and I’d be happy to connect you to local resources, or visit this local directory.