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Are You Prone to PPD?

You can count on feeling at least a little blue in the weeks after giving birth. But if you're shedding buckets of tears or are awash in feelings of inadequacy or guilt, you might be experiencing postpartum depression (PPD), which can interfere with your new role. Here are a few factors that up your risk:

Sleep deprivation

A University of Toronto study showed that mothers with depression were more likely to get less than six hours of shut-eye in a 24-hour period or to have a baby who woke them three or more times a night. While in the hospital, sleep as much as you can. Once you’re home, accept offers of daytime help—and take a nap. If you're breastfeeding, have Dad bring you the baby in bed for night feedings. After nursing is established, which is usually at about four weeks (or sometimes sooner), you can snooze and let him give the late-night feeding (of expressed breast milk).

Assisted reproduction

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.

Shy and anxious personality

Women who avoid social situations or keep their feelings to themselves and are more anxious and sensitive were at greater risk of becoming depressed after birth, according to a study from the Netherlands. The combination of these traits increased the chances of PPD, even when researchers took into account other risk factors, such as a history of depression. So if you're the shy type, try to monitor your mood.