Hey guys! This week, I am trying to raise support for maternal mental health. As many as 1 in 5 new moms experience a postpartum mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression. Improving mental health care for new mothers helps families thrive and helps children grow up healthy. Chances are, you or someone you know has experienced post-partum depression or anxiety, or some other mental health issues after having a baby. Please show your support by clicking the link below to learn more about maternal mental health and to donate if you feel able to do so.
The following information is quoted from the 2020 Mom website (sourced below).
Overview of Maternal Mental Health Conditions
The Baby Blues – Up to eighty percent (80%) of women will experience the “baby blues” after giving birth, tied to sudden shifts in hormones.4
- Women who experience the baby blues may feel sad, have mood swings and crying episodes.
- The Blues are not considered a disorder as the symptoms often resolve within a few days. If symptoms persist, beyond two weeks, it’s likely the mother is suffering from depression.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Depression – Up to twenty percent (20%) of women experience clinical depression during and/or after pregnancy.1-3, 5
- Maternal depression is treatable during pregnancy and postpartum.
- Symptoms can range from mild to severe and, mothers with pre-existing depression prior to or during pregnancy are more likely to experience postpartum depression.
- Maternal depression is treatable and risk can also be mitigated.
- Symptoms generally include sadness, trouble concentrating, difficulty finding joy in activities once enjoyed, and difficulty bonding with the baby.
Dysthymia/Persistent Depressive Disorder – Dysthymia is defined as a low mood occurring for at least two years, along with at least two other symptoms of depression.
- Women with pre-existing dysthymia may be at a higher risk for severe symptoms/depression during the perinatal period.
Pregnancy and Postpartum General Anxiety – Up to fifteen percent (15%) of women will develop anxiety during pregnancy or after childbirth. 2
- Anxiety is treatable during pregnancy and postpartum.
- Symptoms often include restlessness, racing heartbeat, inability to sleep, extreme worry about the “what if’s” – like what if my baby experiences SIDS, what if my baby falls, what if my baby has autism, etc.; extreme worry about not being a good parent/being able to provide for her family.
Pregnancy and Postpartum OCD – The prevalence of maternal Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is 3-5%.6
- OCD includes obsessions (an unwanted thought or feeling) that a person has an urge to relieve through an action or a “compulsion.”
- OCD “obsessions” can include intrusive thoughts (see below for more information about intrusive thoughts).
- About 50% of women with OCD have intrusive/unwanted thoughts about intentionally harming their infant (e.g., throwing the baby).6
- It is important to note that although obsessions often contain alarming content they do not represent a psychotic process, where mothers are at a higher risk of harming themselves or their infants/children.
Birth Related PTSD – The prevalence of postpartum PTSD is 3.1%.7 Most often, this illness is caused by a real or perceived trauma during delivery or the postpartum period.
- These women are plagued with intrusive memories and flashbacks of the event.”