“Women are at a greater risk of developing depression in the postpartum period than at any other time in the life cycle”

The Birth of a new baby should be a time of joy, yet all too often these feelings can be shrouded by depression, guilt and despair. Many new mums suffer the unnecessary effects of postnatal depression because they can’t get support or don’t know that their condition is treatable.

There are several factors which may predispose some mums to the likelihood of developing mental health difficulties around the time of having a baby.

These can include the following:-

  • Previous history of mental health problems
  • Domestic abuse/violence
  • Complications in pregnancy/birth
  • Poor attachment to own mother
  • Poor support network
  • Housing/financial worries
  • Expectations not being met

Many depressed mums feel guilty that they can’t cope. This can lead to tensions with family and friends and spiralling feelings of distress. It is important that friends and family spot the signs of postnatal depression and give support to help the mother overcome a serious and sometimes life-threatening illness.

Recent research suggests that fathers also experience postnatal depression with up to 1 in 14 fathers suffering from the condition. The Mental Health Foundation is encouraging any mother or father experiencing difficulties after the birth of a baby to seek help.


Support groups