If you are a parent, or expecting a baby, you have surely heard of postpartum depression, or PPD. Many moms are actively on the lookout for signs such as sadness, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, anger toward or feeling disconnected to their baby – all the while, hoping and praying that they aren't dealt the dreaded PPD deck. Although no one knows for sure how their body and mind will react to having a baby, there are some postpartum depression risk factors you probably didn't know about that can increase your odds of struggling with the mood disorder.
Depression in women is very common. In fact, about one in nine women experience depression before, during, or after pregnancy, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health care providers are even beginning to conduct prenatal and postpartum depression screenings. Postpartum Progress noted that postpartum depression may be so prevalent because it is caused by a combination of nature and nurture. This means that not only do the outside factors (sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion) contribute to perinatal mood disorders, but biological and emotional factors do, as well.
Here are some risk factors for postpartum depression that you may not have known about.
1. You Have A History Of Depression
According to WebMD, moms who have experienced non-pregnancy-related depression, prenatal depression, or postpartum depression in the past are at a greater risk of getting PPD.
2. You Had A Traumatic Pregnancy Or Childbirth
Postpartum Progress noted that many moms who struggle with PPD have experienced trauma such as hyperemesis gravidarum, bed rest, emergency C-section, or a premature baby.
3. You Don't Have A Support System
Being a parent is hard enough, especially when a mom has little to no support from her family and friends. According to WebMD, the stress of single parenting can be a major trigger of postpartum depression and anxiety.
4. You Have Relationship Problems
The last thing you want to deal with after having a new baby is problems in your relationship, but babies can put extra strain on an already fragile relationship. Marital or relationship problems are risk factors for PPD, according to the Mayo Clinic.
5. You Are A Perfectionist
One surprising thing that could put you at risk for PPD is being a perfectionist, according to Postpartum Progress. Having standards that are too high to meet can trigger symptoms of anxiety and depression.
6. You Have Difficulty Breastfeeding
According to the Mayo Clinic, moms who have a hard time breastfeeding have a much greater risk of PPD, especially if they cannot continue nursing. The MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health cited a 2012 study which found that breastfeeding cessation was associated with an increase in levels of anxiety and depression. The study concluded that women who experienced high levels of anxiety during pregnancy are at an additional risk for postpartum anxiety and depression if they stop breastfeeding early.
7. You Have Financial Problems
Moms dealing with money problems on top of having a newborn can be susceptible to PPD, according to WebMD. This kind of high life stress, is one of the biggest risk factors for perinatal mood disorders.
8. Your Baby Had Health Problems
Moms of children with illnesses and special needs are often diagnosed with PPD. Dallas Child reported that mothers of children with autism had the highest rates of depression, according to a study in the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.