Risk Factors

Risk Factors for Perinatal Mood

and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs)

Many factors can contribute to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders including changes in hormones, biology, psychology, and environment.  These factors can vary from individual to individual and even from pregnancy to pregnancy for the same woman.

Factors that can contribute to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are:

  • the dramatic change in hormone levels occurring during pregnancy and postpartum
  • previous postpartum or clinical depression
  • family history of depression
  • stresses of new motherhood
  • sleep deprivation
  • changes in thyroid function

Other risk factors include:

  • unplanned pregnancy
  • difficult pregnancy, labor, or delivery
  • colicky, difficult, or demanding baby
  • lack of social support after baby is born
  • anxiety about returning to work
  • issues surrounding breastfeeding
  • recent life crisis, such as serious illness or death in the family
  • unrealistic expectations, particularly about breastfeeding
  • certain personality traits, including perfectionist tendencies or difficulty handling transitions

Wondering how to make sense of all this? Here are some good tools to help:

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