A large number of women around the world suffer from postpartum depression after giving birth. Many people, especially women dealing
with postpartum depression or pregnant women concerned about developing it, wonder about the causes of postpartum depression. However, the causes of postpartum depression are not cut-and-dry. While there is no surefire way to prevent postpartum depression, there are various explanations, as well as risk factors that are linked to the causes of postpartum depression.
Many doctors believe that postpartum depression can be triggered by major biological and hormonal changes that occur immediately after pregnancy and childbirth. Other possible causes of postpartum depression are associated with risk factors. This means that some women are more likely than others to develop postpartum depression.
For example, if you have a personal history of depression, or if you experienced high anxiety during your pregnancy, you may be at higher risk of postpartum depression. Other risk factors that may increase your likelihood of getting postpartum depression include age—very young or older mothers may be at higher risk; an unplanned pregnancy; an unsupportive partner; marital or financial difficulties; a recent serious life change; and a family history of depression, anxiety, abuse or addictions.
Other causes of postpartum depression seem to be situational. A long or traumatic labor and delivery, obstetric complications, a difficult recovery or a frustrating breastfeeding experience, as well as insufficient sleep, lack of help from others and no breaks from the baby can all contribute to postpartum depression.
However, it is important to remember that there are no guaranteed causes of postpartum depression. Women who don't have any of the "risk factors" can still get postpartum depression. Similarly, a woman may have a short, uncomplicated labor, a great bonding experience with an easygoing baby and plenty of help, yet still develop postpartum depression.