Giving birth is one of the most intense moments in a mother’s life.
It comes with an expectation of excitement and happiness………
………but in the first few weeks after delivery 80% of women experience emotional ups and downs (called postpartum blues), which is a normal transition to motherhood!
If the symptoms of postpartum blues last longer than 2 weeks or are more severe you may have a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (most commonly postpartum depression or anxiety).
Today, let’s talk about this important topic with a quick overview of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs).
1 out of 5 women experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs).
Let’s compare some stats on medical disorders affecting moms.
8% of moms have gestational diabetes
6% of moms have preeclampsia
20% of moms have PMADs (double this now with COVID!)
You’ve probably heard of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia which were routinely screened for in your pregnancy (remember that gross sugar drink and constant blood pressure checks).
However,PMADs affect 1 out of 5 moms and are the most common complication postpartum…
………YET most women are not aware of and may not ever be asked how they are doing emotionally!
In fact, women are more likely to develop depression and anxiety during the first year after childbirth than any other time in their life!
About half of moms with symptoms of PMADs do not seek help. Why?
Some reasons include:
FALSE! Without appropriate intervention and support, PMADs can last for a year or more.
This can have long term and adverse effects for you, your child and your partner and family. This includes poor mother/baby attachment, developmental delays in children and relationship stress.
Scientific research supports that early intervention (support groups, talk therapy, medications) can protect the well-being of the mother, baby and entire family.
PMADs include the following:
Let’s do a quick overview of each.
Postpartum depression is the most common PMAD occurring 10-15 % of deliveries.
It can occur anytime the first year after pregnancy. Most women think the symptoms just include crying and not wanting to get out of bed. In fact, anxiety can be the predominant symptoms in 80% of moms with postpartum depression.
*If there are thoughts of self-harm or to the baby you should contact your healthcare provider immediately for support.
Postpartum anxiety and panic attacks occur in 11% of pregnancies. This is different from normal new mom worry because with anxiety disorder you cannot turn off the “what if’s” and constant worrying.
Postpartum PTSD occurs in an estimated 6% of women following childbirth. This is an anxiety disorder with intrusive thoughts or flashbacks related to a specific event. Usually after a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred, was threatened or was perceived.
Postpartum OCD occurs in 5-10% of moms. Although 90% of moms will experience some form of intrusive thoughts, with OCD you may experience repetitive intrusive thoughts, images, and fears that are troubling to you.
Postpartum psychosis is the rarest PMAD occurring in 1-2 out of every 1000 mothers (0.1%-0.2%) but is the most severe.
This is what is most reported in the news media and occurs early after delivery when moms experience delusional thoughts that make sense to them (auditory or visual hallucinations).
This PMAD has a greatly increased risk of infanticide/suicide. Postpartum psychosis is considered a psychiatric emergency and can be treated!
Again 1 out 5 moms are affected by PMADs!
This is more common than many medical issues screened during pregnancy.
If you are experiencing any of these…. Remember you are NOT alone.
Get treatment early and be proactive if you have known risk factors.
With support and guidance, you will be on your road to wellness!
*As always please reach out to MaternalWell for text support or specialist consultation. We are here with you every step of the way as you continue your wellness journey.