Although many women experience emotional shifts during pregnancy and after childbirth, some women are not aware that they may need to reach out for help. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) can range from mild to severe. They are caused by changes in hormones, the stress of labor and delivery, sleeplessness, and the normal stress associated with caring for a newborn. Baby blues, as these feelings have commonly been called, can be a mix of mild depression with happier feelings and impact 75%-80% of new moms. However, PMADs can either present or progress toward Pregnancy/Postpartum Depression, Pregnancy/Postpartum Anxiety, and even Postpartum Psychosis.

Baby Blues

The swing of joy to sadness is not uncommon in new moms and usually begins 2-3 days postpartum and may include:   

  • Sadness/Crying Spells
  • Fatique/Exhaustion 
  • Trouble Sleeping 
  • Feeling Overwhelmed
  • Nervous/Anxious 
  • Trouble Coping 

Pregnancy/Postpartum Depression

 Some women experience depression during pregnancy and postpartum depression (PPD) after delivery. These symptoms include those of baby blues above as well as:   

  • Anger, fear and/or feelings of guilt
  • Thoughts of inadequacy as a person/mother 
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Cloudy thinking/trouble making decisions
  • Feeling isolated from others and disconnected from the baby
  • Possible suicidal thoughts  

Pregnancy/Postpartum Panic Anxiety

Some women will experience an anxiety disorder that may present as one of the following:

  • Panic Disorder - Feeling nervous, afraid, having recurring panic attacks
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - intense thoughts and images, compulsions, obsessions
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - Nightmares of birth experience, suppressing memories, anxiety, fears

Postpartum Psychosis

Few women (1-2 of every 1,000) will experience sudden psychotic symptoms and will require immediate hospitalization to protect the mother and baby. These symptoms are:

  • Delusions and hallucinations 
  • Exteme irritability, agitation and trouble sleeping 
  • Sudden mood or personality changes with poor decision making 

Help is available. Tell us what you are feeling.