Postpartum Mood Disorders: Risk Factors

If you struggle or have struggled with any of the following consider taking a proactive approach to postpartum mental health and set your self up for success by creating a support network before baby arrives.  That circle of support may include understanding and trusted family and friends, a doula, a public health nurse, counselor, doctor or therapist.  Finding support before the birth of your child helps reduce the panic of trying to find someone trusted and available after.  

If you are struggling with postpartum mood disorders and have experienced any of the following finding quality supportive help that understands your situation may help you heal and move forward in a positive way.

It is important to recognize the symptoms of postpartum mood disorders so you can identify and seek help quickly should you or your partner experience any of them.


  • History of Bipolar Disorder in self or family

  • History of Depression in self or family

  • History of Postpartum Depression in self or family

  • History of Anxiety Disorder in self or family

  • History of PMS

  • History of eating disorders

  • Thyroid disease

  • Multiple births

  • History of insomnia or not receiving at least 2 blocks of 3 hours of REM sleep in the postpartum period

  • Traumatic or disappointing childbirth experience

  • Unresolved losses (especially reproductive in nature- i.e., miscarriage, infertility, abortion)

  • History of sexual or physical abuse or neglect

  • Recent stresses (i.e., an illness in self or family; divorce; a move; a change in jobs; death. change in financial status, etc.)

  • Perfectionist personality; very task oriented; inflexible

  • Isolated (lives far from family, few if any friends or peers with children)

  • Relationship struggles with partner

  • Relationship struggles with mother

  • Relationship struggles with the baby (i.e., colicky, high needs, temperament differences, illness/injury, developmental delays)



Printable PPMD risk factors




Source: DONA International  Postpartum Doula Workshop Manual 2013