What Causes Post-Natal Distress?

The factors that cause postnatal distress are wide depending on the way through which postnatal distress presents itself.  There have been a number of theories and understanding relating to the cause of postnatal distress. These are the response of post-traumatic, the difficulties experienced in the relationship, grief, anxiety, loss, and the challenges associated with the normal adjustments involving the parenting life-change.

Generally, postnatal distress is caused by various contributing factors that are coinciding and interacting with each other. As a result, these factors cause secondary effects when it comes to relationships, the well-being sense, and the self-esteem if they are experienced for a long time. The causing factors are categorized as the predisposing factors that connect the family, life experiences by the person to that instant, and the nature of this person, the precipitating factors that connect the latest events that affect the woman’s pregnancy, labour process, and delivery process, and parenting nature, perpetuating factors which involves the things that make postnatal distress worse, and finally protective factors which involve the resources the affected person passes through.

The main predisposing factors, precipitating factors, and the perpetuating factors are discussed as follows: –

Physical/Biological Factors

These include the factors such as the deprivation of sleep and feeling physically exhausted, changes in the thyroid functioning, biochemical and hormonal, and pregnancy that is affected by health issues like hyper-emesis,

Reproductive Factors

These are like conceiving difficulties, miscarriage history, death history, adoption history, or the history that is related to the loss of a child. Another factor, in this case, is physical and emotional birth trauma.

Emotional Factors

The factor here is the unsolved issues that arise from the previous experiences like achievement issues, control issues, independence issues, competence issues, self-worth issues, and identity issues. Another factor is unsolved grief arising from the losing the valued lifestyle, responsibilities, nature of health, hopes, level of status, and relationships. Finally, there is unsolved trauma and abuse history. This history may be the emotional one, sexual or the physical one. Moreover, it can be a recent one or the one that happened a long time ago.

Personal / Psychological Factors

In this case, we have the previous mental health issues or the current one, a feeling of not wishing to be called a mother, and a big gap when it comes to the expectations and the reality.

Family/Relational Factors

They include unsatisfactory relationships while a child, family history involving mental health issues, difficulties in the existing relationship, lack of a person to share with, and having negative with the baby.

Practical/Environmental Factors

These are like lacking emotional and practical support, lacking experience with the babies, feeling not worth to give birth, and life events that are stressful.

Societal Factors

These include cultural differences, mothering stigma, mothering conflicts and lack of sufficient support.