‘It’s not just hormones’: Current management of postpartum depression falls short, more


Multiple factors can increase the risk of a mother developing postnatal depression, said Dr Lee. These include:  

  1. History of depression or mental illness 

Women with pre-existing depression or other mental illnesses may be more susceptible to the negative emotions associated with postnatal depression.

  1. Past upbringing or difficult relationship with own mum 

Women who had a tough relationship with their mothers as children may carry emotional baggage into motherhood. This can cause them to exert too much pressure on themselves as new mums, eventually leading to heightened stress and a higher risk of depression. 

  1. Complicated pregnancy 

Women who had a challenging pregnancy, experiencing both physical and mental distress, may have heightened anxiety after giving birth.

  1. Assisted pregnancy (IVF or IUI) 

Conceiving through assisted reproduction such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intra-uterine insemination (IUI) can make the baby even more precious to the mother, intensifying her concerns about potential complications during childbirth and thus, increasing her anxiety. 

  1. Premature birth and NICU stay 

Mothers of premature infants, particularly those admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, often grapple with anxiety and depression due to the intense worry they have about their baby’s health and treatment.

  1. Social factors 

Single mothers, those facing financial challenges, individuals with many children, or those lacking a supportive spouse or family unit may experience increased stress in caring for a newborn, thereby elevating the risk of postpartum depression.



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