Contributing Factors

Factors that may contribute to PND


  • Genetic predisposition to depression – have you suffered depression or anxiety before?
  • Sudden changes in pregnancy hormones following pregnancy
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Difficult or highly medicalised pregnancy or childbirth experiences
  • History of pre-menstrual tension
  • Previous experience of PND
  • Family/personal history of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
  • Sleep deprivation


  • Infertility and use of IVF for conception
  • Difficult or traumatic birth (perhaps involving unexpected interventions such as an emergency caesarean)
  • Traumatic or abusive childhood (particularly sexual abuse)
  • Unrealistic expectations of motherhood and of self
  • Certain personality types (perfectionist or controlling)
  • Limited social and emotional skills (difficulties in effective communication)
  • Past unresolved issues of grief and loss such as previous miscarriage or termination


  • Lack of family and community support
  • Problematic or unresolved relationship issues with own mother
  • Difficult couple relationship
  • Partner who is removed emotionally, works long hours or travels
  • Intrusive or difficult family relationships
  • Social isolation
  • Financial hardship
  • Lack of close friends, particularly families with children
  • Moving house
  • Lack of access to transport
  • Being a younger or older age
  • Stressful life events such as a death in the family or job loss