Causes of these peripartal reactions are individual as they result from the interaction of several physical, hormonal, biochemical, mental and social factors. The interaction of several factors leads to an overburdening of the mind. The number and intensity of the individual exacerbating factors determine the severity of the disorder. This means that the different weighting of the factors causing the condition needs to be taken into account for each woman.

Physical factors

  • Severe hormonal changes after giving birth
  • hyroid dysfunction
  • biochemical changes caused by sleepless nights
  • pre-existing mental disorders
  • genetic disposition

Peripartal factors

  • Long wait to get pregnant
  • preceding miscarriage
  • unplanned or unwanted pregnancy
  • pregnancy complications
  • uncertainty during prenatal care
  • depression during pregnancy
  • traumatic, extremely painful and/or long-winded childbirth experience
  • emergency caesarean section
  • unsettled or insensitive birth environment
  • premature birth
  • ill or stillborn child
  • breastfeeding difficulties
  • abrupt and/or involuntary ablactating
  • intake of certain ablactating drugs

Psychic factors

  • Moving on from pregnancy
  • moving on from the idea of the “perfect baby”
  • moving on from one’s own childhood
  • personal limitations
  • identity crisis
  • loss of independence
  • loss of freedom and self-determination
  • perfectionism
  • loss of control
  • traumatic experiences before and after pregnancy and birth
  • stress factors such as moving house, financial and/or social problems
  • relationship problems
  • traumatic experiences in childhood
  • life experiences that have resurfaced as a result of giving birth

Social factors

  • Idealised image of the mother in literature and advertising
  • demanding babies that need a lot of care
  • coming to terms with the new role as mother
  • lack of support from partner and social environment
  • changed relationship with partner
  • changed relationship with existing children
  • changed relationship with parents and in-laws
  • loss of old friends (who are not parents)
  • the disappearance of extended families and their support
  • patriarchal form of society with low social and material security for mothers