If you’re considering getting pregnant or you already are, it’s important to understand what the risk factors are for postpartum depression.
If you currently suffer from depression
The most important risk factor is if you already have active symptoms of depression, anxiety, or mental health issues. The key is not waiting to seek treatment: don’t leave your symptoms until after the baby is born, get medical attention and talk to your health care provider. The best thing you can do is treat these symptoms as early as possible to limit your risk for postpartum depression.
If you have a history of mental illness
The second risk is if you’ve previously had a history of mental illness, anxiety or depression. Try to establish and have a plan in place with your health care provider and your family to keep a close eye and monitor the symptoms. This way you’ll ensure they remain minimal, or better yet – don’t come back at all.
Look at your support group
You’ll want to take into consideration your support system. If you and your partner have a strained relationship, that’s something that you’re going to want to address before getting pregnant or during pregnancy since that element is often a factor in bringing on additional anxiety and depression. You’re also going to want to think about who else will be in your support network: family, friends, co-workers, even people who you hire to lend a hand. These can all be key players in helping you avoid postpartum and to help you navigate the early days of being a new parent.
Treat other medical issues
Finally, you’ll want to think about addressing any other medical issues. Thyroid problems or low blood iron issues commonly mimic anxiety or postpartum depression, so it’s extremely important to monitor and treat these conditions early so they’re symptoms don’t get confused with those of postpartum.