Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

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Childbirth can be a very stressful event due to hormone fluctuations, physical changes, and lack of sleep.  Almost 80% of new mothers experiences the "baby blues" within the first two weeks of having a child.  It is normal to experience increased tearfulness, nervousness, loss of concentration, moodiness, and feelings of inadequacy and dependency.  However, the "baby blues" are temporary and usually resolve on their own within two weeks of onset.  It is also estimated that 50% of moms will experience something called Postpartum Adjustment Disorder, also known as Postpartum Stress Syndrome, which is quite simply an adjustment to motherhood where the feelings listed above linger for significantly longer than two weeks but do not necessarily interfere with a mother's functioning and ability to care for herself or her baby.  If you feel so bad that you are having trouble caring for yourself or your baby, you may have be experiencing a Perinatal Mood or Anxiety Disorder.  There are several different types of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.  Click on the links below for additional information:

A new mother may not even recognize depression or anxiety because she is tired, overwhelmed, and attempting to adjust to life with a new baby.  New moms are often afraid of seeming weak or incapable of handling motherhood.  Moms and their families may feel ashamed or embarrassed.  They fear admitting to negative feelings after birth may lead to them being labeled as "bad mothers."  Many women don't seek help because of the societal expectation that motherhood be a joyous time and they "are not supposed to feel this way."  Despite the fact that 1 in 8 women will experience significant postpartum depression or anxiety, it is still quite misunderstood. When women choose to speak up about their concerns, they are told "it will pass" or "get over it. 

The good news is that that treatment is often highly effective.  The vast majority of women who seek counseling and treatment for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders, report a marked improvement in mood and ability to cope within several weeks of treatment.  Therapy can help new mothers gain confidence in themselves and their abilities and choices as a mother, provide support, education, and teach coping skills, assist new mothers to reconnect with family, friends, and their baby, navigate life transitions as a new mother, and begin to fully enjoy life, instead of focusing on fears and anxieties.

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