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Postpartum Depression

PPD After Subsequent Births
By Karen Kleiman, MSW
Karen KleimanQ. My son is now 3 years old and we're thinking about having another baby. I had such a terrible time with postpartum depression after my son was born, I'm scared to go through that again. My husband says I shouldn't worry about that and everything will be fine. I wish I could be so confident! Is there anything I can do to make sure it doesn't happen again?

A. It's sweet of your husband to reassure you and tell you everything will be fine, and hopefully, he's completely right about that, but I suspect you'll feel better if you could make some specific plans to prepare for this. Women with a previous postpartum depression are 50% more likely to experience it again after a subsequent delivery. That means you're just as likely NOT to get it as you are to get it, but in general, we like to prepare for the possibility by getting all your resources in place to reduce the likelihood of getting it again, or, reduce the severity of the symptoms if you should get it. Keep in mind that no matter what you do and how much you prepare, you might still get it again. That's the bad news.

The good news is this -- with careful planning (what worked last time, what didn't work), actions taken to mobilize your resources (connecting with all support people including family and healthcare practitioners who will be involved) and a proactive approach (staying in control of the variables that may influence the situation) -- you are much more likely to have a positive impact on the outcome of your next pregnancy. The more in control you are during this process, the less anxiety you will experience and the more confidence you will have moving forward.

Good luck!

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