Can Strong Family Support Prevent Postpartum Depression?

postpartum depression supportPsych Central reported on a new study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science in which the authors concluded that having her family’s strong social support around a new mom means she is less likely to develop postpartum depression.

The study looked at levels of a stress hormone called placental corticotropin-releasing hormone (pCRH), comparing those who felt they had strong support from their families  to those who didn’t. Support included things like pitching in to help, offering an understanding ear, and making the mom feel valued. Those who perceived they had more support had much lower levels of pCRH, leading the authors to believe that social support protects against abnormal pCRH increases and that lower pCRH levels in turn reduce risk of postpartum depression.

Of course, all of you who had strong social support and great families around you, like me, will be scratching your heads wondering how you got postpartum depression. Social support, or lack thereof, has always been considered a risk factor for postpartum depression. It is not, however, the only thing that causes PPD or something that singularly prevents PPD.

Here’s a much more detailed story on this study if you’d like to learn more, from Science Daily.

Photo credit: © JackF –

About Katherine Stone

is the founder of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the top 20 Social Media Moms by Working Mother magazine. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

Tell Us What You Think


  1. Anne-Marie @ Do Not Faint says:

    I know that it would make for boring headlines, but I still hate that the media (Science Daily) draws conclusions the researchers never would! “Foreshadows” – yikes. I think you do a great job here explaining the study, which in turn looks at one factor that probably contributes PPD in depth. All good to know! I think the only really safe assumption is that having a strong social support structure is always a good idea!

  2. One of the things I lament about in therapy is how this could have happened to me (PTSD/PPD) when I have everything I ever could have wanted and my kids are healthy and happy. (I know, I know…as if it was ever that simple….) I had great family support too. My therapist put it like this: that support is probably what prevented me from getting even more seriously sick, ending up hospitalized or suicidal or fulfilling my most powerful desire when I was in the PPD hold, to get up and leave forever. The causes of PPD are profound and varied from woman to woman but I had support and was still tremendously sick. It anchored me without me realizing it and I am lucky and grateful it is there.

  3. I truly honestly think…know…that I was going to get hit no matter what. I had a lot of risk factors. If I would have known that, I would of had more support…but my family was supportive after the birth of my son anyways. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind when I was pregnant that I would not get support…so I don’t know about this one.


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