Postpartum Depression: The Top Triggers
I waited to become a mother until I was 37, and I felt totally ready and excited. That’s why I was so disappointed in myself when, a few weeks after my beautiful baby was born, I felt more fear and agitation than excitement. I felt inadequate, like an imposter.” —Loretta, on postpartum depression
Studies show that 1 in 7 new moms develop postpartum depression, which makes PPD a national epidemic!
Postpartum Depression: Surprising Facts
Some aspects of the condition may surprise you:
- There’s no conclusion that all cases of PPD is caused by hormonal shifts.
- PPD can start right after birth or come on months later.
- The main feelings are often anxiety, fear and intrusive thoughts.
- Roughly 50% of men whose partners get PPD experience depression, too.
Most new parents get just a mild case of the “baby blues,” but others become deeply depressed (and a few even develop psychosis). Being exhausted and hearing your baby’s screams may trigger a flood of painful memories, like being yelled at in anger or ridiculed. And it’s not uncommon for old feelings of shame and rage to burst back to the surface during this time. If you are feeling overwhelmed and think you might be depressed, don’t hesitate to call your doctor.
PPD Triggers and How to Prevent Them
The best ways to keep PPD at bay? Address the three biggest postpartum depression triggers:
- Persistent crying
- Unsupportive partners
A cool thing? The 5 S’s work on all three triggers: The 5 S's—swaddling, shushing swinging, and sucking, and holding baby in the side-stomach position— calm a baby’s cries, help parents get more sleep, and can be just the thing to engage an unsupportive partner.
Never forget that you need help—and deserve it! Ask a neighbor or friend to pick up dry-cleaning or walk the dog so you have less on your plate. Hire a nanny, doula, or night nurse for support around the house. Bottom line: Do what feels right to you, but don’t brave it alone. You need it—and deserve it!
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.