Perinatal Mental Health
Perinatal mental health refers to mental health complications during pregnancy and through the first year following childbirth. The most common types of perinatal mood disorders are postpartum depression and anxiety. 1 out of 7 moms and 1 out of 10 dads suffer from postpartum depression. It is important to know that help is available and you will get better.
The baby blues or something more serious?
80% of moms experience symptoms of baby blues in the first few weeks after delivery. Symptoms can include tearfulness, irritability or feeling overwhelmed. You may feel worried about caring for a newborn, exhausted from lack of sleep and hormonal. This is normal and symptoms will start to fade within 2 weeks. If your symptoms persist or become worse instead of better, you may be experiencing a postpartum mood or anxiety disorder.
Types and Symptoms of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Pregnancy/Postpartum Depression – symptoms can include feelings of sadness, irritability, anger, guilt, loneliness, or loss of interest in things you would normally enjoy. Many women report simply not feeling like themselves. Some moms cry often but others do not. Symptoms will differ for everyone.
Pregnancy/Postpartum Anxiety – extreme worries or fears, often focused on the health and safety of your baby. Many women report a constant fear that something terrible will happen to them or their baby. Physical symptoms can include dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea and a sense of losing control.
Pregnancy/Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – most often includes frequent or repetitive, unwanted thoughts or images (obsessions) and a need to engage in certain behaviors over and over again (compulsions) to reduce the anxiety associated with these thoughts/images. Examples can include thoughts of driving off the road with your baby in the car and refusing to drive to avoid the anxiety associated with your thoughts. Moms are very scared by these thoughts, they have no desire or intention of acting on them and they want them to go away.
Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – can result after a traumatic childbirth, NICU stay, loss or past trauma. Symptoms can include nightmares, flashbacks and avoiding memories or situations related to the event.
Postpartum Psychosis – is rare, occurring in approximately less than 1% of women. The onset is often sudden, within the first 2 weeks after delivery. Symptoms can include paranoia, seeing and hearing voices or images that other’s cannot, called hallucinations or having strange beliefs, called delusions. *** Postpartum Psychosis is treatable but is also an emergency and it is essential that you get help immediately.**
POSTPARTUM SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL
Helpline 800-944-4773 or text 503-894-9453
• Provides a variety of support and education for moms and dads. Options for help include online support groups, free “Chat with an Expert” sessions and referrals to local therapists and support groups in your community.
MOTHER TO BABY
Ask an expert 866-626-6847 or text 855-999-3525
• Evidenced based information on medications and exposures (such a beauty products or household cleaners) during pregnancy and breastfeeding
GEORGIA CRISIS AND ACCESS LINE
Text “GA” to 741-741