1. A personal history of a mental illness in your lifetime, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, bi-polar disorder. This could be undiagnosed or untreated through a personal decision not to take medication or seek treatment.
2. A history of depression or anxiety disorders in your family. These could have gone undiagnosed.
3. A personal history of premenstrual syndrome, perhaps indicating a heightened sensitivity to hormonal changes, indicating you may have:
4. A sensitivity to hormonal fluctuations of childbirth
5. Lack of social support
6. Trouble in the marriage relationship
7. Mental illness, such as addiction, in your spouse
8. Poverty is a an indicator for postpartum depression
9. Financial difficulties, such as the recession has brought to many households
10. Being in a abusive relationship, even “just” verbally or emotionally abusive
11. A past history of sexual abuse or sexual assault
12. Experiencing a past traumatic birth, such as a protracted labor involving multiple medical interventions, even if they were medically indicated. Many factors feed into a woman feeling traumatized during her childbirth experience.
13. Having a infant born with a disability
14. Having a stillborn infant
15. Being the mother of a premature infant
16. Having had extensive infertility treatments
17. Feelings around a personal choice to terminate a past pregnancy
18. Unresolved issues from childhood regarding parenting and being parented
19. A previous episode of postpartum depression. A mother who has had a previous episode of PPD has a 50 to 80 percent risk of developing it again with her second baby (compared to a 10 to 20 percent chance without a prior episode).
Befrienders Worldwide is a a great organization to call if you are feeling you may harm yourself or if you need immediate assistance.
Postpartum Support International has information and support available as well.
The Organization of Teratology Specialists has free information and phone support regarding pregnancy, breastfeeding and medications.
Kleiman, K. & Wenzel, A. (2011). Dropping the baby and other scary thoughts. Routledge:New York.
Nonacs, R. (2006). A deeper shade of blue. Simon & Schuster: New York.