Postpartum Depression Risk Lower in Winter

A recent study pointed to a connection between postpartum depression and the season. According to the meta-analysis, the risk was lower in women who delivered in the winter. To learn more about this puzzling connection, we asked Andrea Braverman, PhD, about the signs and symptoms of post-partum depression.

What do we know about who is at risk for postpartum depression?

In general women with a history of depression or a previous history of postpartum depression are most at risk for developing PPD.  Other factors may also play a role such as other health or mental health issues, availability of support, relationship problems, and other stressors in developing PPD.

What does the study tell us about risks for postpartum depression?

This study confirms that there are many variables that may add to a woman’s risk (or protection from) developing PPD.  More research is needed to understand how these factors contribute to an individual’s risk.

How could the season affect postpartum depression?

It is unclear how the seasons may contribute to developing PPD but may be understood through mechanisms such as having different expectations or pressure to be involved with other activities than caring for the baby or availability of support networks to the new mother.

What are the signs of postpartum depression?

  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Feeling sad most to f the time
  • Feeling like you cannot bond with your baby or have little interaction
  • Feeling that you cannot care about anything or anyone
  • Lack of focus
  • Seeming like you (or appearing to others) are a different person
  • Feeling full of rage or anger
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Can’t make decisions
  • Complaining of physical pain without any cause
  • Loss of sex drive

What to do if you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms?

Talk to your (or their) ob-gyn, Nurse Practitioner, Midwife or trusted healthcare provider.  Reach out to a mental health professional who works with women.  Read the websites available about PPD.  Don’t be silent and don’t assume it will just pass.  Take it seriously and take it with caring, respect and kindness.

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