What are Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders?

The "Baby Blues" and Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) are very different in terms of time and significance of symptoms. The Blues are mild mood changes that are very common and subside 1-3 weeks after childbirth. Whereas, PMAD are related to mood and anxiety changes during pregnancy or up to one year postpartum. It is very important to reach out and seek help from a healthcare provider if the symptoms last more than a few weeks or get worse.

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Symptoms may consist of the following:

•Anxiety

•Panic

•Feelings of losing control or going crazy

•Sadness

•Crying spells

•Anger and irritability 

•Changes in eating or sleeping habits

•Little interest in baby 

•Fear of hurting yourself or your baby

•Feeling hopeless, worthless, or overwhelmed

•Lack of concentration

•Exhaustion

•Mood swings

There are a number of factors that may put some women at higher risk of developing PMAD. Those risk factors include: 

•Past mental health history or family history

•Traumatic pregnancy or delivery

•Physical limitations after childbirth

•Stressful experiences with infertility, miscarriage or pregnancy loss

•History of abuse

•Traumatic childhood

•Life event stressors (job loss, relationship issues, financial hardships, loss of a loved one, divorce, moving, etc.)

•Lack of social or family support

•Personality

•PMDD


 

Mothers need to know that it is safe to reach out and not feel shameful or embarrassed about their feelings. PMAD is more common than you might think, 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression or anxiety and it is the number 1 complication of childbirth. This is an alarming statistic when you think of the labor and delivery process. In 1 years time, 850,000 women will suffer and quite often they suffer in silence. Please see the Resources link below to get the help you need and deserve.

For further reading:
Postpartum Support International (PSI), www.postpartum.net and DONA International, www.DONA.org

For additional links, visit our resources page: