How To Prevent Depression Postpartum

With postpartum depression affecting up to 20 percent of new mothers, knowing how to prevent depression postpartum - what a mother should do and what she should avoid after having a baby - is important to know. 

Depression during the postpartum period can stem from a number of causes - some of which can be avoided and some that cannot. By understanding the common causes of postpartum depression, women who are trying to become pregnant, are already pregnant, or who have just given birth can take more effective steps to learn how to prevent depression from occurring.

Avoiding Stress

This is easier said than done, however stress is a serious factor behind the development of depression. Some women find it difficult to ask friends and family members for help when the new baby arrives. Some women feel that in addition to caring for and attending to the needs of a helpless infant, they must also maintain their previous responsibilities, such as house cleaning, chores, work schedule, etc. without any help. 

Maybe family and friends have already offered their help, and in that case, it is 100% okay to take them up on their offer. Even if a new mom hasn’t received any such offers, that doesn’t mean that friends and family aren’t willing to lend a helping hand.

sleep can help prevent postpartum depression

Sometimes it can save a new parent’s sanity to ask a friend to come over for a serious cleaning spree or seeing if the baby’s grandparents would care for the baby for a few hours so mom (and dad) can get some much-needed sleep, see a movie, or even catch up on some reading. 

It is okay to order take-out or pizza sometimes instead of cooking at home, and the house doesn’t have to be spic-n-span at all times. Part of being a successful mother is to create a balance at home and to realize that as long as mom and baby are healthy and happy, everything else can wait. 

Stress doesn’t only occur after the baby is born, however. Some women experience high stress levels before and during pregnancy, which has been shown to increase a woman’s chances of developing postpartum depression. 

Women who were not planning to become pregnant, who will be raising the baby without a father, or who are having relationship problems with the father are also at a higher risk of suffering from depression. It is important to know how to prevent depression if this is the situation you are in. The best method of prevention is to talk about these feelings, whether with a friend, parent, or even a therapist. 


A little pampering can go a long way in providing a huge emotional boost. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip to the spa (although who could turn that down, eh?), but taking the time now and again to get your nails painted, get a haircut, or treat yourself to some new makeup can help a new mom regain some semblance of her former self. It also helps to perk up mom’s self image so that she feels attractive and desirable again. 

Diagnosing Postpartum Depression Early

The best preventative method that a new mom can use is early diagnosis. Catching depression in the early or developmental stage can save mom and her family a great deal of suffering because a treatment plan can be developed before the symptoms of depression have a chance to become overwhelming. 

Many doctors now will suggest a new mother take a depression test for postpartum depression. In this screening, mom can give a response based on the level of occurrence or severity, such as “all of the time,” “most of the time,” “not very often,” or “not at all.” This questionnaire cannot give a positive or negative diagnosis of postpartum depression, however it can be an invaluable tool for doctors during the evaluation and diagnosis process.


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"No mother has to suffer from PPD needlessly. This is a fact. But until you know what you're up against, you'll still be trapped - without knowing why! A typical example is the common misconception that depression is "all just in the mind." Your first step is to keep an open mind; and allow Laura to take you by the hand and guide you step by step through the PPD universe. Using a "wellness" approach, and with her usual friendly and informative style, trust me, she can help you help yourself getting out of the rut - naturally - in no time."

- Naturopath Alex Leong, B.A.S.M.

“Laura realizes the interconnections between mind, body, and spirit and offers down-to-earth,  practical guidelines in harmonizing them.”

- Karen Szillat, Early Childhood Educator and Peace Advocate Author of Empowering The Children:  12 Universal Values Your Child Must Learn to Succeed In Life

“I wish I had had this valuable book after my baby was born.  Fantastic information!”

- Gigi Murfitt, Author of Caregiver’s Devotions To Go and My Message is C.L.E.A.R.

"I just want to say in my capacity as pediatrician, teacher of pediatrics, and medical journalist, how very impressed I am by your website. I think your site is very thoughtful, not at all doctrinaire, and will be very valuable to mothers (and I think fathers, too in a second-hand sort of way) suffering from a variety of postpartum problems, of which the most common and perhaps the most serious is PPD. Anyway, thank you for your site, which I will certainly pass on to mothers in my practice."

Sydney Z. Spiesel, Ph DMD Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine

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