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How common is postpartum depression?

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How common is postpartum depression?

The number of women who are affected by PPD is hard to pin down, since there are many cases that go undetected, unreported, and untreated.

Numerous professional societies including the March of Dimes and the American Psychological Association report that PPD affects up to one in every seven new moms, and in state-by-state data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that estimates can range from one in ten to one in five. PPD usually occurs in the first 2 or 3 months after delivery, though it can happen any time in the first year after birth. Furthermore, though a history of depression is a risk factor for PPD, about half of all women diagnosed with PPD experience depression for the first time.

Risk factors for PPD

One in seven women is a rough estimate for how common PPD is, but for women who are part of certain groups, it occurs more frequently. Groups who are at a higher risk for postpartum depression include those who:

Contributing factors to PPD

It’s not clear what causes PPD, but evidence suggests that a series of contributing factors can play a part. These contributing factors include:

Postpartum depression is common. However, it is not something you have to “just get through,” and there are treatment options to help address it. The first step is recognizing it and getting help.

If you don’t like the way you are feeling or what you are thinking, let somebody know. Your obstetric care provider can screen your for depression and help you figure out if what you’re feeling is baby blues, depression, or other emotional complications of pregnancy. Whether through talk therapy, medication, or some combination, help is available.


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