Feeling a little blue in the weeks after giving birth is normal. But if you're shedding buckets of tears or you're awash in feelings of inadequacy or guilt, you might be experiencing postpartum depression (PPD). Here are a few factors that may increase your risk.
Not Sleeping Enough
A University of Toronto study showed that mothers with depression were more likely to sleep less than six hours in a 24-hour period or to have a baby who woke them three or more times a night. Once home, take up those generous offers of daytime help -- and take a nap or two, even if it's just a short snooze.
Investigators at the University of Melbourne found that mothers who conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF) were four times more likely to be admitted to a depression treatment program. Why? Researchers think mothers who undergo assisted conception may idealize parenthood and underestimate the difficulties of caring for a newborn. Reaching out to other new moms may help you to learn that challenges in the first weeks are normal--they don't call it "the trenches" for nothing!
Women who avoid social situations or keep their feelings to themselves and who appear anxious and sensitive are at greater risk of becoming depressed after birth, according to a study from the Netherlands. If you're the shy type and experience PPD symptoms, you shouldn't try to tackle it on your own. Contact your doctor and ask for help.