BECOMING A NEW PARENT IS STRESSFUL AND DIFFICULTLY ADJUSTING TO NEW PARENTHOOD IS ABSOLUTELY NORMAL.
Quick facts that may help you determine if you need to seek additional help.
BABY BLUES- 60-80 percent of women experience the baby blues after delivery of a newborn baby. Baby blues consists of feelings of exhaustion, irritation and sadness after giving birth. The symptoms usually appear 1 to 3 days after birth and can last anywhere from 10 to 14 days postpartum. If your symptoms continue after two weeks it would be helpful to seek a professional to determine if you are experiencing a PMAD (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder).
POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION- 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression. We suspect this number to be much higher however access to mental health care and shame continue to contribute to the lack of diagnosis. Any woman who has experienced these symptoms during the past 12 months can receive a diagnosis of postpartum depression:
- Low mood, Sadness, crying spells
- Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
- Agitation or anxiety
- Lack of energy, feeling slowed down physically
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of appetite
- Feelings of shame and or guilt
- Possible thoughts of harming your baby
POSTPARTUM ANXIETY- 1 in every 10 women experience postpartum anxiety after giving birth and 6 percent experience anxiety while pregnant. Symptoms of postpartum anxiety include:
- Constant worry
- Feeling that something bad is going to happen
- Feeling like your mind is racing and cannot turn off
- Disturbances of sleep and appetite
- Physical symptoms like dizziness, heart palpitations and nausea
POSTPARTUM OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) - Between 3-5 percent of mothers reports symptoms of OCD during the post partum period. Symptoms of postpartum OCD include:
- Obsessions, also referred to as intrusive thoughts, which do not go away. These thoughts are repetitive and very upsetting
- Compulsions- The mom may do behaviors over and over again to try to reduce her fears and obsessions. This may include the constant need to clean, checking the baby constantly or counting and constant reorganizing.
- A deep sense of horror about the obsessions
- Fear of being left alone with the baby
- Hyper vigilance about protecting the baby
POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS- Psychosis is RARE. Only 0.1-0.2 percent of mothers experience psychosis postpartum. Symptoms include:
- Delusions or strange beliefs that feel real
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there)
- Feeling Confused
- Feeling disconnected from reality
- Decreased need or inability to sleep
- Paranoia and suspiciousness
- Difficulty communicating at times
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby