Risk Factors

What causes anxiety and depression during pregnancy and the first year postpartum is still not fully understood. There are several factors that might increase a mom’s risk of experiencing a maternal mood disorder, such as anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, panic disorder, bipolar, or psychosis—click here to download our free self-assessment quiz. (NOTE: Our self-assessment quiz is not meant as a diagnostic tool, but it may be useful to start a conversation with your OB, midwife, pediatrician or therapist if you’re worried about any of the symptoms you’re experiencing.)


Please remember that this is not your fault. There is nothing you did or didn’t do to cause this. With help, this is treatable and you will feel like yourself again.


Risk Factors include:

  • A traumatic pregnancy or birth, which may include:
  • Medical complications during delivery, including emergency C-section
  • Premature birth
  • A baby who had to be in the NICU
  • Fertility issues
  • Miscarriage
  • Still birth
  • Loss of a baby after delivery
  • Multiple births—twins, triplets
  • A special needs baby
  • Difficulty nursing/feeding your baby
  • A baby with colic
  • A baby who doesn’t sleep/nap well
  • A history of domestic violence, sexual or other abuse
  • Family history of mental illness, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, OCD
  • A traumatic childhood, abusive events in childhood
  • A perfectionist personality and/or low self-esteem
  • Stress, including the loss of a loved one, a job loss, financial hardship, divorce or strain in your relationship with your partner, and a house move or work relocation.
  • Lack of social support from family/friends
  • Military family whose partner is deployed

If some of these resonate with you or your situation, it does not necessarily mean that you will experience a mood or anxiety disorder in pregnancy or postpartum, but indicates that your chances are higher than other women. It’s always better to be aware of your risk factors so that you can be prepared to seek treatment if you notice that you’re struggling. Click here to find resources that can help.