These 4 Factors Can Predict Your Postpartum Depression

by Lara DeSanto Health Writer

What if it was possible to know in advance whether your postpartum depression symptoms might worsen? Researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois have identified a way to do just that, improving the likelihood of earlier treatment and full recovery for new mothers.

Their research study, published in Depression & Anxiety, identified four factors that could be used to accurately predict whether a new mother’s postpartum depression might worsen over a 12-month period, including:

  1. The number of children a woman has had

  2. Her ability to function generally in life, relationships, and at work

  3. Her education level, because this can determine her access to resources

  4. The severity of her depression at four to eight weeks after giving birth

The study divided women with postpartum depression into three categories:

  • Gradual remission, meaning they get better over time

  • Partial improvement, meaning they still had symptoms at 12 months postpartum but are improving

  • Chronic severe, meaning their symptoms have worsened over time

The study’s authors hope their findings will improve care and early intervention for new mothers dealing with postpartum depression in all three categories.

Source: Depression & Anxiety

Lara DeSanto
Meet Our Writer
Lara DeSanto

Lara is a former digital editor for HealthCentral, covering Sexual Health, Digestive Health, Head and Neck Cancer, and Gynecologic Cancers. She continues to contribute to HealthCentral while she works towards her masters in marriage and family therapy and art therapy. In a past life, she worked as the patient education editor at the American College of OB-GYNs and as a news writer/editor at