What are Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders?

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are a group of illnesses that can affect expectant and new mothers anytime from pregnancy until up to twelve months after birth, however, untreated symptoms of PMAD can last for much longer. Postpartum Depression is one of the most commonly recognized perinatal mood disorders. Other PMADs include Antenatal Depression (depression during pregnancy), Postpartum Anxiety, Postpartum OCD and Postpartum Psychosis.

Read on for detailed explanations of Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety and other PMADs.

 
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Risk Factors

PMADs can happen to any mother after the birth of a child, regardless of how many other births she has experienced. According to MayoClinic.com, factors that can increase the risk of experiencing a PMAD include:

  • History of depression, either during pregnancy or at other times
  • History of bipolar disorder
  • Family history of depression or other mood stability problems
  • The experience of recent stress, such as pregnancy complications, illness or job loss
  • Health problems with your infant or other special needs
  • Difficulty breast-feeding
  • Relationship programs with your spouse or significant other
  • Lack of a solid support system
  • Financial problems
  • If the pregnancy was unplanned or unwanted
 
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How do I know?

Not sure if you have a PMAD? Many women, with our without the risk factors noted above, often have a difficult time identifying and expressing how they are feeling. Perhaps you are just not feeling like yourself but can't put your finger on it, or you are wishing you had never had a baby to begin with. Perhaps you are feeling like you just want to run away from it all and start fresh. You have done nothing wrong, you are not a weak person or a bad mother, and most importantly, you are NOT alone! THOUSANDS of women in our state experience a PMAD each year. You have a treatable mental health condition and there is an expansive network of professional and peer support in your local Southern Maine community.

 
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What is Postpartum Depression?

Depression is different from “baby blues”. A drop in estrogen after delivery may cause vulnerable feelings, emotional swings, mood changes, feeling occasionally down and crying.  This is normal as estrogen levels affect brain chemistry. “Baby blues” is transient and should subside after a few days.  Some may experience these symptoms in the first 2 weeks after the birth.

Depression symptoms are different from the blues and can be experienced slightly different for everyone but may include:

  • A loss of pleasure or interest in things you used to enjoy

  • Feeling down

  • Eating much more, or much less, than you usually do

  • Feeling guilty or worthless—blaming yourself

  • Sadness, crying uncontrollably for very long periods of time

  • Feeling hopeless, empty inside, numb emotionally

  • Inability to sleep, sleeping too much, difficulty falling or staying asleep

  • Disinterest in the baby, family, and friends

  • Excessive irritability, anger or agitation—mood swings

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions

  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby (call to get immediate help)

If these warning signs or symptoms last longer than 2 weeks, you may need to get help. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, recovery is possible with proper treatment.

For half of women diagnosed with postpartum depression, this is their first episode of depression.  About half of women who are later diagnosed with PPD, many began experiencing symptoms during pregnancy–so it’s important to seek help early.

 
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What is Postpartum Anxiety?

Anxiety Symptoms can include:

  • Worrying , anxiety, panic attacks

  • Racing thoughts, feeling restless and unable to relax

  • Fear of not being a good mother

  • Fear of being left alone with the baby

  • Fear of leaving the baby alone or something bad will happen to the baby

If these warning signs or symptoms last longer than 2 weeks, you may need to get help. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, recovery is possible with proper treatment.

 
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What is Antenatal Depression?

*Coming Soon*

 
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What is Postpartum OCD?

*Coming Soon*

 
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What is Postpartum Psychosis? 

*Coming Soon*

 
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