Women and Postpartum Depression

By: Pine Rest Staff

Hormonal fluctuations, physical changes, sleep deprivation and the responsibility of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. Up to 80 percent of new mothers experience the “baby blues,” an emotional rollercoaster of moodiness, tearfulness, anxiety, inability to concentrate and sadness starting around one week postpartum and lasting about three weeks. While it doesn’t feel good, the baby blues are completely normal and not a disorder.

Postpartum depression and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are the most common complication of childbirth. If untreated, there can be serious complications for moms, babies and families. Consequences include disruption in mother-baby bonding, interruption in the infant’s development, family and relationship conflicts, and in serious cases can lead to suicide or infanticide.

The highest time of risk is at six months after delivery, however, onset can occur any time from pregnancy until two years after the baby is born. Symptoms include excessive worry, sadness, guilt, hopelessness, sleep problems, fatigue, loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities, change in appetite, irritability and difficulty making decisions. In comparison to the baby blues, postpartum depression symptoms continue three weeks or longer.

Risk Factors

  • Depression or anxiety during pregnancy
  • Personal or family history of depression
  • Complications with pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
  • Giving birth to multiples
  • History of PMS or other significant mood reactions to hormonal changes
  • Negative mood changes while taking birth control medication
  • Recent loss or move
  • Difficulty in asking for support
  • Low self-esteem or perfectionism
  • Poor social, familial or financial support
  • Unresolved miscarriage, abortion, adoption or loss
  • Thyroid dysfunction

You are not alone! Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders are the #1 complication of pregnancy. Pine Rest has innovative, proven programs to help you feel like yourself again.

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