Understanding Your Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression

Understanding Your Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression

Whether or not you’ve experienced major depression or any other mood disorder in the past, there are numerous risk factors for postpartum depression (PPD) that might apply to you. 

Affecting between 1 in 10 and 1 in 7 women shortly after their deliveries, PPD is a very specific form of depression that only affects new mothers. 

With more resources than ever before, you can get the help you need as you transition into your latest phase of life and motherhood. 

In The Loop in Chicago and in Northbrook, Illinois, our experts are prepared to help you evaluate your risks for postpartum depression before the birth of your baby. Here at The Association for Women’s Health Care, we provide exceptional resources and services for postpartum depression education, prevention, and treatment. 

Considering your mental health risks

Throughout pregnancy, there are many screenings and tests you get to evaluate you and your baby’s health. 

You’ve likely also spoken extensively with your providers about health risks in your family history or have taken part in genetic testing to evaluate the risks of various genetic disorders that can affect your baby, like spinal muscular atrophy or Gaucher disease. 

Just like physical conditions, mental health conditions like PPD have considerable risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing symptoms. We have lots of questions for you about your past and present that can offer insight into your personal risk for postpartum depression.

Looking into your own mental health history is one of the most accurate predictors of whether you’ll experience postpartum depression beyond the short period of maternity blues that affects 50-85% of new mothers. 

While any sort of depression in your past increases your risk, depression during pregnancy is the strongest predictor of PPD. Prenatal anxiety is also a strong predictor, regardless of whether you have any diagnosed anxiety disorders.

Taking inventory of your home life

While evaluating your personal risk for PPD, take note of your family relationships and your circumstances in the home. It’s no secret that new motherhood can be immensely stressful and having a strong support system in place is crucial to your well-being. 

Social support like neighbors, family members, or friends who live nearby can lower your PPD risk significantly. 

It’s also necessary to have a strong relationship with your partner and with yourself. Low self-esteem is a risk factor, as is a rocky marriage or domestic partnership. 

While some factors in your social life are outside your control, a good rule of thumb is to minimize stressors and unhealthy relationships in your life as you prepare to welcome a new baby.

Ready to learn more?

In spite of the many specific risk factors that help us predict who is more or less likely to experience postpartum depression, you should note that anyone can get it even without predictive markers. 

PPD is a very serious condition for many new mothers, but learning about it can help you prepare for it later on. To explore your own PPD risk factors and learn more about the condition’s impact, contact either of our offices with a phone call or book an appointment online today.

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