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It’s the type of depression you may get after you have a baby. It can start any time during your baby’s first year, but it’s most common for you to start to feel its effects during the first 3 weeks after birth. If you have it, you might feel sad, hopeless, and guilty because you may not feel like you want to bond with, or care for, your baby.
Postpartum depression doesn’t just affect first-time moms. You can get it even if you didn’t have it when your other children were born. There are many causes, including:
- Hormones. Your hormone levels rise when you’re pregnant. After your baby is born, they drop suddenly. This quick change can trigger depression in some women. (If you ever feel moody before you get your period, you know how hormones can affect you.)
- History of depression. If you’ve had depression before, or it runs in your family, you may be more likely to have postpartum depression.
- Stress and problems. If you didn’t want to be pregnant, or your partner and family don’t help you care for your baby, you’re more likely to become depressed as a new mom. The condition is also more common among women with money issues, problems with drugs or alcohol, or other big sources of stress.
Very young women who aren’t prepared to care for or support a baby are also at risk.