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Physical Factors for Postpartum Depression

Though many mothers may struggle with postpartum depression, some women are more likely to experience it than others. If you find yourself dealing with any of the following physical, psychological, or social factors, know that each one adds another depth to your depression that affects how you interact with your baby and even how you live day to day.

Sleep Deprivation

As a new mom, you know that fatigue and sleep deprivation are just part of the picture. Newborns wake up every three or four hours to be changed and fed. But if you cannot sleep even when your child is sleeping, have trouble falling asleep because you’re afraid of what may happen if you aren’t watching your child, or struggle with fatigue for longer than three or four months, this can be contributing to your postpartum depression.

Sleep allows the body to recover and re-energize for a new day. Moms who aren’t getting enough sleep are not only lacking the energy and alertness to care for their child, but they are also more prone to delusions. Exhaustion hurts both you and your child.

However, you may also be tired because you have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is when the body doesn’t produce enough of a chemical called thyroxin. This can make it hard to focus. It can also make you tired and forgetful.

Sleep deprivation, whatever it is caused by, can have serious effects and should be addressed immediately.

Weak Immune System

Postpartum women can experience a weaker functioning of their immune system. This is influenced by a continually high level of stress, which is affected by factors such as lack of sleep, financial pressure, and potential relationship issues with your partner. A weaker immune system means your body isn’t equipped to handle illness as well as it normally does. You are more likely to get sick because your body is fighting the fatigue and stress instead of fighting off a cold or infection. Is your body handling the stress and the physical changes of motherhood well?

Constant Pain

Women recovering from delivery, whether they had a C-section or a vaginal delivery, often deal with a consistent level of pain for days to weeks afterward. Incisions and lacerations need time to heal. Engorged or swollen breasts or cracked nipples can make nursing uncomfortable and painful. Plus, sore muscles and headaches can affect your daily movements, making it difficult to care for yourself, let alone your child. Such an intense level of pain can add to your postpartum depression. Are you experiencing a lot of pain?

Changed Levels of Hormones and Cholesterol

After delivery, hormones are all out of whack. Some hormone levels rise, while others fall sharply. Plus, cholesterol levels often drop. All of these can contribute to depression because they are affecting the chemical balance in a woman’s body. How are your hormone and cholesterol levels?


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