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“Postpartum” means the time after childbirth. Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect new parents. It is most commonly associated with women, but men can also experience this type of depression. Parents with postpartum depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult to complete daily care activities for themselves or others.
Postpartum depression does not have a single cause, but likely results from a combination of physical and emotional factors.
For women, hormonal changes may trigger symptoms of postpartum depression. After childbirth, the levels of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in a woman’s body quickly drop. This leads to chemical changes in her brain that may trigger mood swings.
In addition, many mothers are unable to get the rest they need to fully recover from giving birth. Constant sleep deprivation can lead to physical discomfort and exhaustion, which can contribute to the symptoms of postpartum depression.
Any new parent can experience postpartum depression and it can develop after the birth of any child, not just the first. However, your risk increases if: