What Causes Postpartum Depression?

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

Roughly ten percent of new mothers experience postpartum depression. The condition can be triggered by anxiety or excessive worrying, as well as stress from other complications. Postpartum depression has not been linked to only one cause. However, there are some conditions that increase the likelihood of postpartum depression. 

Factors that can contribute to postpartum depression

  • Hormones– A decrease in estrogen and progesterone can be a contributing factor to postpartum depression. When hormones produced by the thyroid gland drop dramatically, it can result in feelings of depression and tiredness.
  • Stressful life situations like unsupportive family, careless partner, unhelpful friends, unemployment, dissatisfaction with present location, sudden change of environment, and other hard changes can contribute to developing postpartum depression.
  • AnxietyPeople with a history of anxiety are most likely to develop postpartum depression. Because they are prone to excessive worrying, they may be anxious about everything concerning their newborn. For instance, when you are anxious about taking care of your baby or about any other situation that might occur with the baby.
  • People with a history of bipolar disorder and depression are more likely to develop postpartum depression. Feeling downcast and unmotivated to do anything as a result of depression can increase during pregnancy and after childbirth as the person experiences new situations that might trigger these feelings.
  • Previous experience of postpartum depression- People who have had the condition after a previous delivery are most likely to have a repeat of it.
  • Difficult pregnancy and childbirth as well as post-birth circumstances can contribute to developing the condition. People who experience difficult labor and painful breastfeeding may be more susceptible to postpartum depression. People whose newborns have any kind of health challenges may likely develop the condition if they have other underlying factors.
  • Severe illnesses and serious health challenges can contribute to the condition. People who go through health challenges experience emotional and physical stress. Carrying a pregnancy and going through childbirth in such health conditions may aggravate their stress.
  • Societal pressure– People who live in societies where there is an image of a perfect parent may struggle to meet those expectations which can lead to depressive feelings.
  • Past life circumstances and traumatic experiences like sexual abuse, domestic violence, loss of a loved one, and homelessness can lead to anxiety and depression, thereby contributing to postpartum depression.
  • Multiple births like twins, triplet quadruplets, and so on can also present some challenges to the mother and thereby contribute to the development of postpartum depression.
  • Unplanned pregnancy – When the pregnancy is unwanted or one of the partners does not want a child, it can contribute to feelings of postpartum depression. 

Can a baby’s father develop postpartum depression?

Yes. Fathers can also develop the condition, especially if the baby’s mother is experiencing it. If the father is emotionally strained, it can degenerate into paternal postnatal depression. Feeling incompetent in executing fatherly duties, being a father for the first time, especially when the baby is unsettled, and having issues in the relationship can contribute to paternal postpartum depression. 

Having a history of depression, paternal postpartum depression, anxiety, and feelings of low self-esteem are also contributing factors. 

What can most likely occur if postpartum disorder is untreated?

Untreated postpartum disorder can lead to more complications. The mother can develop chronic depression and it can be disabling if it is very severe. If left untreated, chronic postpartum disorder can also contribute to the possibility of the mother having the condition after another childbirth.

Can postpartum disorder in mothers and fathers affect children?

Postpartum disorder in mothers and fathers is likely to affect the children in a number of ways. Some children may develop eating and sleeping difficulties. In situations where the depression is untreated and the parent(s) experiences it long term, they may be emotionally detached from their children for a prolonged time and this may lead to feelings of neglect in the children. 

Postpartum depression in parents can hamper effective communication with their kids, and this can negatively impact the children. Some children may also experience delays in developing language.


There are several contributing factors to the development of postpartum depression, including physical, environmental, financial, and emotional circumstances. New fathers can also experience a form of postpartum depression known as paternal postnatal depression. If left untreated, postpartum depression can become severe. Children can be affected by their parent(s)’s condition. But there is help available. Ketamine treatment is one of the most reliable solutions to the condition, as it provides relief within hours of being administered.

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