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Postpartum Anxiety 101

Chelsea Gonzales

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Anyone who has ever suffered from uncontrollable anxiety knows what a terrible feeling it is. Unfortunately, this same anxiety is something many pregnant women suffer from, and what’s even more unfortunate is that many of these women never recieve help.

The name for this condition? Postpartum Anxiety (PPA). Never heard of it? That’s okay, many people haven’t. However, it’s important that we get the word out, as this is a very serious condition that can actually lead to lifelong complications.

Therefore, we are going to use today’s article to introduce PPA and help raise awareness.

What is Postpartum Anxiety?

Like postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety is a disorder that occurs in women after they have given birth. In many women, the symptoms will appear immediately. In others, it could take several months after giving birth. Still others begin to feel the symptoms of anxiety a few weeks before they even welcome their little one into the world.

While PPA is similar to PPD in that it appears after giving birth, it is actually quite different in terms of symptoms. Women suffering from postpartum anxiety will experience nigh-unrelenting feelings of worry. Usually these worries are for her newborn and they refuse to be dismissed. This constant worry can result in trouble sleeping, changed eating habits, rapid heartbeat, hot flashes, nausea, an inability to focus, and shortness of breath.

Obviously, these symptoms are quite disruptive to everyday life, and can even make it difficult for a new mom to care for her baby.

What Causes Postpartum Anxiety?

After giving birth, women go through an enormous hormonal shift. This works along with changes in schedule, lack of sleep, and relationship changes with those nearest and dearest to them to set the stage for postpartum anxiety. At first, the symptoms may be subtle, or they may come on full-force right away.

Who Might Suffer from PPA?

Absolutely any mother who has just given birth can develop postpartum anxiety. In fact, as many at 11% of women suffer from this disorder. That said, there are some mothers who may be more susceptible to it, including:

  • Women with a personal or family history of anxiety
  • Women with a history of depression
  • Women who experience weepiness or irritability as symptoms of PMS
  • Women with eating disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Women who have had a miscarriage or stillbirth in the past

What are the Treatment Options?

Luckily, there are very effective treatment options for PPA, meaning that those who seek out treatment will almost certainly overcome the anxious feelings that are disrupting their lives.

The first course of action will likely be ensuring the new mother has help with the little one, along with giving her a professional therapist to help her regulate her worried thoughts and give her coping techniques. Even these small steps can make an enormous difference, and by also adding regular exercise into the mother’s routine, the anxiety may be eliminated completely.

If the lifestyle changes mentioned above don’t do the trick, the next step is medication. Typically, medication is only used in the most severe cases and is paired with continued therapy and positive lifestyle changes in order to make the biggest possible impact.

Conclusion

Making people aware of the reality of postpartum anxiety is the first step in helping all mamas receive the care and attention they need.

If you feel you or someone you love is likely to develop PPA based on medical history or personality, hiring a postpartum doula is an excellent preventative measure. A postpartum doula can help the new mother by providing support during the weeks after baby’s birth.

Are you or someone you know currently suffering from PPA? please let a professional care provider know. Getting the proper help is the first step to happier days with your little one.

Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?

Chelsea Gonzales

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We’ve all heard of the baby blues, but what exactly are they? Are they different from postpartum depression, and how can a woman know whether or not her postpartum emotions are normal? These are all questions that many new mamas have, which is completely understandable. After all, we all want to know what’s going on with our bodies.

Fortunately, there are some answers. That said, the differences between normal postpartum moods, baby blues, and PPD may not be incredibly noticeable at first. Therefore, if you even think you are suffering from PPD, seeking help from a healthcare provider as soon as possible is always the best thing to do.

What Are the Baby Blues?

The baby blues are completely normal and something a huge percentage of new mamas experience. Typically, the baby blues last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, during which the new mother will feel big mood swings and heightened emotions, a large amount of stress, and/or extreme disappointment.

These feelings are caused by a variety of factors including adjusting hormones, lack of sleep, and the enormous life changes that are happening all around the new mother. Luckily, the baby blues will gradually go away on their own accord as the family finds their new normal.

What is Postpartum Depression?

PPD looks and feels very much like the baby blues. It may include increased and relentless negative feelings, lethargy and lack of motivation, and even harmful thoughts. Unfortunately PPD affects up to 1 in 7 new mothers. This condition does not tend to go away on its own and can be dangerous if left untreated.

Fortunately, there are treatments available, and by finding help, affected mothers will be able to live the happy life they dreamed of.

How Can I Tell the Difference?

Length of Time

The length of time that the negative emotions last is a pretty good indicator of whether or not you’re dealing with a case of PPD. As mentioned earlier, the baby blues will almost always go away after 2 weeks. Cases that last longer are likely to be full-fledged postpartum depression and should be treated as such.

Intensity of Emotions

Because it’s good to seek out treatment as soon as possible when it comes to postpartum depression, waiting for two full weeks may not be the best solution in some cases. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the intensity of a new mama’s negative emotions. If the mother seems to resent her child, or if she is having thoughts of harming herself of others, it’s time to find help.

Other signs a mother is experiencing PPD rather than baby blues include any and/or all of the following:

  • No motivation to do basic tasks

  • Constant crying or anger

  • Anxiety or panic attacks

What Should Be Done about PPD?

If you think you or a loved one is suffering from PPD, it’s very important that you seek out help. The best place to begin is with a primary care physician, midwife, or OBGYN. This care provider will be able to help solve the problem with prescriptions, referrals, or a combination of both.

One of the best ways to keep negative feelings at bay and make your postpartum weeks a bit easier is by hiring a postpartum doula. If you’d like more information on how a postpartum doula can help you, please contact me today!