Signs & Symptoms of

Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders

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

A general term used to describe 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 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 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:

intense thoughts and images, compulsions, obsessions


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:

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 
Extreme irritability, agitation Trouble sleeping 
Sudden mood or personality changes

Poor decision making

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