12 postpartum depression facts every new parent must know (as well as their family and friends)
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Jena Booher, MS, PhD Candidate
Postpartum depression facts every new parent must know
Here are 12 postpartum depression facts every new parent must know, as well as their family and friends.
1. It’s very common but it is not normal. It occurs in 10 percent of new parents.
2. It is severely under-diagnosed. Approximately 66 percent of new parents suffering from postpartum depression go undiagnosed.
3. Rates of postpartum depression peak around seven months after birth.
4. Trauma at birth and breastfeeding challenges increase your risk for postpartum depression.
5. Going back to work less than six months after birth increases your risk for postpartum depression by approximately 25 percent.
6. Postpartum depression isn’t just suicidal thoughts or thoughts about causing harm to the baby; those are only some of the most severe manifestations. Postpartum depression symptoms generally occur in a range, and people suffering from Postpartum depression can be highly functional
Read more: What does depression feel like?
7. Postpartum depression symptoms are often lumped together with common postpartum challenges — lack of sleep, loneliness and isolation, lack of sex drive, fatigue, and not leaving the house. The symptoms to pay particular attention to are severe weight loss or gain, and even more importantly, the feeling of a fundamental change in one’s old self.
8. Depression can also show up prenatally (perinatal depression) and can occur in men and partners as well (paternal/partner postpartum depression).
9. Every parent should get the research app PPD ACT (if available in your country). We recommend setting a reminder on your phone to take the test every 2 months. Available on Apple App Store and Google Play
10. Often, it’s a partner, close friend or family member vocalizing the change in a new parent that causes that person to acknowledge suffering from and seek help for Postpartum Depression.
11. If you are diagnosed with postpartum pepression, practice self-care and seek support and counseling.
12. Postpartum depression resources in the US: Office of Women’s Health, The Gianna Center for Women’s Health, Seleni Institute, Infant Risk Center (a hotline offering recommendations regarding taking prescription medications while breastfeeding).