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Can Postpartum Depression Cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

0 2 years ago

A growing body of knowledge surrounding mental health, in general, has helped more people get the care and treatment they need to work through mental health issues associated with giving birth.

Many of those people may be concerned if postpartum depression (PPD) opens the door to other mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or postpartum-post traumatic stress disorder (PP-PTSD).

Certain life experiences and populations may be at higher risk for developing PTSD postpartum. Still, support and treatment are available to help birthing people work through and manage the effects of changing life circumstances.

What are PPD and PTSD?

At first glance, postpartum depression and PTSD may not seem related. But preexisting conditions, past trauma, and aspects of the birthing experience may increase the chances of developing either or both conditions.

Postpartum depression

Research from 2018, which collected studies from 56 countries, suggests the global prevalence of women who experience postpartum depression is 17.7%

Research from 2020, which included 26 studies from Asia, Europe, and the United States, shows a prevalence of baby blues between 13.7% and 76%.

Baby blues can be a precursor and an increased risk factor for much longer-term PPD.

PPD goes beyond “baby blues” and is defined as a major depressive disorder (MDD), with a specifier of postpartum onset within 1 month after childbirth.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of the baby blues beyond 2 weeks, it may indicate PPD. Consider speaking with your healthcare team to discuss your symptoms.

Symptoms may include:…


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