Pregnancy and Postpartum Issues
Pregnancy and postpartum mental health challenges are common, treatable medical conditions. One in five women will experience distressing emotional reactions during pregnancy and the first year after childbirth. These emotional conditions also affect fathers and those who have adopted or suffered perinatal loss.
The experience of being pregnant, giving birth and navigating the world of raising a baby is a monumental life change and it is understandable that this experience would create emotional distress or significant mental health challenges. You are not alone and it is important to help help if you are struggling through this phase of life. Whether you are experiencing a diagnosable mental health condition or you are just facing heightened stress and difficulty coping during this major life transition, therapy can benefit you.
1 in 10 women experiences perinatal anxiety.
Symptoms include but are not limited to:
Excessive worry that is distressing and difficult to control
Uncomfortable physical symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath or shakiness
Restlessness or agitation
Insomnia or sleep disturbance
1 in 5 women experience postpartum depression.
1 in 10 women experience depression during pregnancy.
Characterized by sadness, loss of pleasure or enjoyment (which may include caring for and bonding with the baby), feelings of guilt, shame and hopelessness, appetite changes and sleep disturbance (other than that caused by the baby) and fatigue. These symptoms may often occur with anxiety symptoms and anger/irritability.
It is important to be aware of the risks for depression during pregnancy and postpartum. If you are experiencing any of the risk factors listed, you may be at a higher risk for depression. If you have these experiences, please discuss them with your care provider, whether your doctor or therapist.
Personal or family history of mood disorders
Lack of support caring for the baby or other children
Complications during pregnancy, birth or feeding issues
Mothers of multiples
Families with infants in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)
BIRTH TRAUMA PTSD
Birth Trauma PTSD is a reaction to personally experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, including childbirth. History of prior trauma increases the risk. It is common to feel guilty for having negative feelings about the birth and believe that she “should” be happy, especially if the baby is healthy.
Symptoms of perinatal PTSD can include:
-Intrusive re-experiencing of the traumatic event: flashbacks, reliving the experience, nightmares.
-Hyperarousal (easily startled), Hypervigilance
-Avoidance of anything that is a reminder of the trauma: including the location, thoughts, feelings or people who were present at the event.
-Anxiety and panic attacks
It is important to understand that birth trauma PTSD is caused by the real or perceived trauma during the birth or postpartum experience.
Baby in NICU
Feeling out of control during the labor
Prior history of trauma (including a history of physical or sexual abuse)
If any of these descriptions resonate for you related to your experience during pregnancy or postpartum or you are having other distressing experiences during your pregnancy or postpartum phase, please contact me today for a consultation.