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Postpartum Anxiety, Depression, OCD, & PTSD

What are Perinatal Mood Disorders?

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Growing your family can be a wonderful, joyous occasion. But for one in five new parents, it is both met with joy and depression, or joy and anxiety.

Baby Blues can last for the first two weeks after the baby is born. If new feelings of depression, anxiety, or anger come up or persist after that period, it doesn’t fit in the definition of baby blues.

Postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, and psychosis all fall under the umbrella of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Symptoms can start during pregnancy, soon after birth, or months later. Postpartum depression is the most common complication of childbirth. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are common and treatable.

Read on to find out more about the most common postpartum challenges and find out how psychotherapy can help.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression can look like:

  • Not feeling connected to the baby
  • Having a low mood for most of the day, most days
  • Surprising or uncharacteristic anger towards another
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, that isn’t sleep disruption from baby’s needs.
  • Feeling guilty or ashamed
  • Thinking or worrying that your baby would be better off without you
  • Having thoughts that scare you or that you don’t like

Postpartum OCD

Postpartum OCD can look like:

  • Images and thoughts that come “out of the blue” that are frightening or worrying in nature that are hard to dismiss and often repeat themselves.
  • Horror or anxiety about the frightening images or thoughts
  • Understanding or some awareness of these thoughts being different or bizarre or unlikely to come true.
  • Hypervigilance about protecting the baby
  • Preoccupation with germs and cleanliness
  • Fear of being left alone with the baby

Postpartum Anxiety

Postpartum anxiety can look like:

  • Intrusive thoughts- thoughts that you don’t like, about harm happening to you or loved ones, that you can’t seem to stop.
  • Constant or near-constant worry
  • Racing thoughts
  • Trouble sleeping or eating that is not explained by baby’s schedule
  • Feeling “jumpy” or struggling to sit still
  • Physical symptoms like nausea, dizziness, feeling overheated, shortness of breath

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Postpartum PTSD

Not everything goes according to plan. When there is a traumatic experience during pregnancy, birth, or after baby’s arrival, postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder can develop. Postpartum PTSD can look like:

  • Flashbacks and intrusive thoughts and images about the traumatic experience
  • Avoiding stimuli that reminds you of the traumatic event (for example, the smell of the hospital or the beeping of a heart monitor if there was a medical trauma or traumatic birth)
  • Startling easily, hypervigilance, irritability
  • Trouble sleeping and eating
  • Feeling detached from yourself, your family, your baby.

How Can Psychotherapy Help with Postpartum Issues?

Many of our associates have firsthand experience with postpartum issues and/or extensive experience and training helping people with these challenges.

Contact us today to schedule an introductory disscusion to see if we can find a therapist who is a fit for your needs and schedule.

If you need to talk to someone immediately the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline is a 24/7, free, confidential hotline for pregnant and new moms in English and Spanish.

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-943-5746 

We are currently accepting appointments for new clients. Contact us today about finding a psychotherapist who is a fit for you.

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