There is hope

Iowa's Perinatal Depression Project


  About baby blues

  About postpartum depression

  About postpartum psychosis

  What causes perintal depression
   and who is at risk?

  What help is available?  

  Facts & myths

  Resources for children

  Downloadable materials

  Additional resources



Stress, a sick baby and the social isolation that follow childbirth all can contribute to depression that might occur following delivery.

We don't know the exact cause of perinatal depression. Research studies indicate that the largest risk factors include: past history of mental illness, depression during pregnancy, a poor marital relationship, few supportive relationships, stressful life events, African American ethnicity and poverty.

Women may have many different emotions following the birth of a child. One moment you may be feeling like you are on top of the world. The next moment you may feel overwhelmed with a new, or another, baby to take care of and doubting your ability to be a good mother. A newborn can add many new stresses.

Below are other risk factors that may contribute to perinatal depression include:

Psychological/social risk factors

  • Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy
  • Stress during pregnancy (financial problems or marital problems)
  • Young age: nearly 50 percent of teen mothers experience perinatal depression
  • Limited social support from partner, family or friends
  • Lack of sleep
  • Pressure to be the perfect mother
  • Problems with baby's health
  • Labor or delivery complications
  • Current or past sexual abuse


  • Had perinatal depression with a previous pregnancy
  • History of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, or other mental health disorders
  • Family history of depression or other mental illness
  • History of premenstrual mood syndrome (PMS) or other hormone related mood changes
  • Symptoms of depression during past use of hormonal contraceptive methods (birth control pills, patch, injection)
  • Severe postpartum fatigue

Contact Us

Privacy Notice
Disclaimer of Liability & Endorsement

ISUE Wordmark
IDPH logo
Iowa Department
of Public Health
Department of HHS logo
Funding for this project was provided by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration.