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Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders


Are you concerned about any of the following?

  • Postpartum depression

  • Postpartum anxiety

  • Anxiety & Depression during pregnancy

  • Baby blues

Is what I’m feeling normal?

 

Everyone experiences anxiety and sadness sometimes. However, it's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of perinatal mood disorders, including depression and anxiety.

 

Up to 80% of new mothers experience the "baby blues" in the first few weeks following delivery. This is a normal period of adjustment when you might be tired, worry, or cry but it is not an illness and symptoms go away on their own within about two weeks.

 

Approximately 20% of new moms experience depression. Symptoms of depression include sadness or crying, feeling irritable or angry, difficulty concentrating, lack of interest in things once enjoyed, withdrawal from others, feeling detached or having difficulty bonding with the baby.

 

Symptoms of perinatal anxiety include constant or extreme worry about the baby, physical symptoms like nausea or headache, panic attacks, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping or eating.

 

Other disorders include obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and postpartum psychosis.  If you feel like your symptoms are interfering with your life and your ability to enjoy your pregnancy or new baby, talk with your provider. With help you can feel better!

 

 

 

Why do perinatal mood disorders occur?

 

No one can say for sure why some women develop maternal depression and anxiety and some don't, but here is what we know to be factors that increase risk.

 

Risk factors:

  • Family history or prior personal history of postpartum mood disorders

  • Anxiety and depression during pregnancy increases risk of postpartum depression and anxiety

  • Personal or family history of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, or OCD

  • History of significant mood reactions to hormonal changes during puberty, PMS, hormonal birth control, or a pregnancy loss

  • Medical issues such as thyroid problems, anemia, or side effects of medications can contribute to anxiety, depression, and mood swings

  • Social factors such as inadequate social supports, interpersonal violence, financial stress, poverty, and high stress parenting situations such as military families, teen moms, and moms of multiples

  • Complications during pregnancy or the birth, and issues related to breast feeding

  • A tendency toward perfectionism and high personal expectations

 

 

 

What can I do to help myself?

 

  • Talk with your provider.  Your provider is trained and knowledgeable when it comes to the care of women in pregnancy and postpartum.  They understand what's happening.  They will help you get help!

  • Consider seeing a counselor.  There are professionals in this community who are specially trained to help with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and they can help you sort through what is normal and what is not.  They can offer information, reassurance, and support without judgment.  They will help you develop a plan so that you can start to feel better as soon as possible!

  • Try to practice good self care.  Are you able to fall asleep at night or take naps when you can?  Are you eating nutritious meals in a way that fuels your body, or could you add in some healthy snacks?  Are you making time to exercise if possible, or at least get some fresh air outside of your house? Are you giving yourself time to relax, spend time with family or friends, and have fun?  These are all elements of good self care and they are all important!

  • Consider meeting with a Health & Nutrition Coach

  • Access your support system and let people help you.  Consider a support group. Try to be realistic about life - no one is perfect! Be kind to yourself as you recover. With help and support you will be well!