Am I at risk for a Prenatal or Postpartum Mood Disorder?
No woman is immune to the possibility of a prenatal or postpartum mood disorder. Every culture, race, age, education and income level may be affected. Symptoms can develop during pregnancy or after the birth of any child, not just the first. It is nobody’s fault, nothing was done to “get it”, there is no single cause for prenatal and postpartum mood disorders. Symptoms are caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social stressors.
That being said, there are some known risk factors to be aware of:
Personal or family history of mood or anxiety disorders
Depression or anxiety experienced during pregnancy
Previous postpartum mood disorder
History of severe PMS or PMDD
Poor support system / social isolation
Stressful life events
Sick or colicky baby
Past experience of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
Abrupt weaning from nursing
Over anxiousness and inability to cope with change
Super woman syndrome
1st time mothers or mothers with several children
Long or short intervals between pregnancies
Unrealistic expectations of motherhood
Lack of preparation for motherhood
Poor relationship with own mother
Conflicting feelings about becoming a mother
Pregnancy or newborn loss
Having a multiple birth
Mood changes while taking birth control pills or fertility medication
There are many things that can be done prior to baby’s birth to prevent or ease prenatal and postpartum mood disorders. Next week we’ll talk about creating a postpartum wellness plan.