About Pregnancy Related Depression and Anxiety
It's supposed to be the happiest time in a woman's life. Instead, it can be one of the most stressful and anxiety producing experiences a woman will ever have.
Research estimates that as many as 20% of women experience symptoms such as frequent crying, sleep disturbances, anger, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, or even suicidal thoughts during pregnancy and after the birth of their child. Are you one of them?
Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders Overview
Any of these symptoms, and many more, could indicate that you have a form of perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, such as postpartum depression. While many women experience some mild mood changes during or after the birth of a child, 15 to 20% of women experience more significant symptoms of depression or anxiety. Please know that with informed care you can prevent a worsening of these symptoms and can fully recover. There is no reason to continue to suffer.
Women of every culture, age, income level and race can develop perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Symptoms can appear any time during pregnancy and the first 12 months after childbirth. There are effective and well-researched treatment options to help you recover. Although the term “postpartum depression” is most often used, there are actually several forms of illness that women may experience, including:
Pregnancy (also called antepartum) or Postpartum Depression. A woman with PPD might experience feelings of anger, sadness, irritability, guilt, lack of interest in the baby, changes in eating and sleeping habits, trouble concentrating, thoughts of hopelessness and sometimes even thoughts of harming the baby or herself.
Pregnancy (also called antepartum) or Postpartum Anxiety. A woman with PPA may experience extreme worries and fears, often over the health and safety of the baby. Some women have panic attacks and might feel shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, a feeling of losing control, and numbness and tingling.
Pregnancy or Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Women with PPOCD can have repetitive, upsetting and unwanted thoughts or mental images (obsessions), and sometimes they need to do certain things over and over (compulsions) to reduce the anxiety caused by those thoughts. These moms find these thoughts very scary and unusual and are very unlikely to ever act on them.
Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PPTSD is often caused by a traumatic or frightening childbirth, and symptoms may include flashbacks of the trauma with feelings of anxiety and the need to avoid things related to that event.
Postpartum Psychosis. PPP sufferers sometimes see and hear voices or images that others can’t, called hallucinations. They may believe things that aren’t true and distrust those around them. They may also have periods of confusion and memory loss, and seem manic. This severe condition is dangerous so it is important to seek help immediately.
(Post Partum Support International)