Close Close
Mother and Baby

Post-natal depression - is there anything I can do to prevent it?

Post-natal depression - is there anything I can do to prevent it?

A reader asks: “I recently read that 1 in 10 women get post-natal depression. Is there anything I can do to prevent it?”

Our expert, Clare Byam-Cook, is a midwife and author. She says:

Medical experts are still unsure of the exact causes of postnatal depression, but most are of the opinion that it’s the result of a combination of factors.

These may include a lack of support when you first bring your new baby home, and not having friends and family around you to help. Other factors include a difficult delivery that results in pain and physical problems, and relationship worries or money problems.

Being aware of the potential triggers and understanding that it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and isolated when you become a new mum can help you rationalise your worries and stop you feeling inadequate.

Try to create a support network around you of friends, relatives or local mum-and-baby groups. And remember your health visitor is there to offer advice and help you find the help and support you need once you’re home with your baby.

A study of 10,000 British women found the lowest risk of postnatal depression was among those who planned to breastfeed – and were successful. But it also showed that mums who wanted to breastfeed their babies, and then found they couldn’t, were twice as likely to suffer from depression as those who’d always planned to use formula milk.

The key to successful breastfeeding and happy motherhood is to do your research before your baby is born. Ask your friends which books and feeding aids, such as breast pumps and nipple shields, they found most helpful, and whether they can recommend a good feeding counsellor in your area. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family and seek professional advice if breastfeeding is painful or your baby is crying endlessly and not settling after feeds. Sore nipples are mainly caused by a bad latch or thrush. Crying babies are usually hungry or have a medical problem, such as reflux, which requires treatment. 

I hope breastfeeding goes well for you, but if it doesn’t, it’s better to give up than sink into depression. The most important thing is that you and your baby are happy and thriving and that he gets enough milk.  


Related content:


No comments have been made yet.

Chinese Gender predictor
Chinese Gender Predictor

Is it a boy or a girl? Tell our tool the month you concieved and how old you are and find out! 

Nappy rash is painful for parents as well as for your baby
Nappy rash is painful for parents as well as for your baby

Read Dr Pixie's guide to learn how to deal with nappy rash

The Magic Sleepsuit
The secret to a quiet night’s sleep – The Magic Sleepsuit

If you’re little one is struggling to settle now they’ve outgrown the swaddling stage, this could be the answer to your sleep-deprived prayers!

Celebrating parenting's small wins
Celebrating parenting's small wins

As mums, we're constantly told to enjoy every moment; in reality, parenting can sometimes be challenging. That's where small wins come in...

Subscribe to Mother&Baby

Be the best mum you can be and let Mother & Baby guide you along the way. Each issue is jam packed with REAL advice from mums just like you. Subscribe today & get a free welcome gift!

Ovulation Calculator
Ovulation calculator
Trying for a baby? Work out when you're most fertile to increase your chances of getting pregnant with our easy-to-use ovulation calculator.
Pregnant woman
Due Date Calculator

When is your baby due? If you’re having trouble remembering dates and counting up the days on your fingers and toes, don’t worry – use our due date calculator.

Get M&B in your inbox!

Sign up to Mother&Baby today and get news and advice about your body and your baby straight to your inbox every week. 

Lemonade Money
It’s time to make sure your loved ones are protected

Every parent knows the importance of planning ahead; from the new school shoes, to your little one’s education, you want to fill their future with hopes and dreams. Yet are you one of the 80% of adults here in the UK that has no life cover?