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Mothers

Risk FactorsMother and baby

Certain factors may increase a mother’s risk of depression during and after pregnancy. Identifying risk factors early is critical to preventing postpartum depression. Possible risk factors include:

A personal history of depression or another mental illness or substance abuse
A family history of depression or another mental illness
A lack of support from family and friends
Anxiety or negative feelings about the pregnancy
Previous pregnancy, birth or postpartum difficulties
Marriage or money problems
Stressful life events
Young and/or single mother
Complications during labor/birth
Low confidence as a parent
Problems with babies health
A major life change at the same time as the birth of a baby

Symptoms of PPD

The following signs or symptoms of PPD may mean that a mother is experiencing something more serious than the baby blues. Multiple symptoms that don’t go away or thoughts of suicide may mean the mother could need an evaluation by a physician or mental health professional.

Emotions

- Increased crying or irritability
- Hopelessness and sadness
- Uncontrollable mood swings
- Feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope
- Fear of harming the baby, her partner or herself
- Fear of being alone

Behaviors

- Not having any interest in the baby or overly concerned for it
- Poor self-care
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
- Decreased energy and motivation
- Withdrawal or isolation from friends and family
- Inability to think clearly or make decisions

Physical Symptoms

- Exhaustion, sluggishness and fatigue
- Sleep and appetite disturbances not related to care of the baby
- Headaches, chest pains, hyperventilation, heart palpitations

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