Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Even though having a baby is exciting and joyous, there can also be negative emotions involved after giving birth. As much joy as babies can bring to the family, they also make the mom frustrated, tired and worn out. Up to 80% of women feel anxious and sad during the first few weeks after giving birth, this is also known as baby blues. Some women might even require anxiety attack help because of being overwhelmed.
What Are Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Perinatal disorders have also become a common complication in childbearing women. According to Jeanne L. Alhusen, PhD, et.al. ““Perinatal depression is considered the most underdiagnosed pregnancy complication in the United States with more than 400,000 infants born to mothers who are depressed each year.” Perinatal disorders refer to a group of disorders which include the following: anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, panic, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Perinatal disorders can happen to any women who just given birth. However, women who have suffered or experienced any of these factors are at a greater risk of suffering from perinatal disorders:
- Anxiety or depression during pregnancy.
- Low self-esteem.
- Problems that were faced during pregnancy.
- Stressful events before pregnancy or while pregnant.
- Traumatic experiences.
- Having no support from family members or your partner.
- Perinatal disorders are also inherited.
- Trauma while giving birth.
- Financial distress.
- Marital issues.
Symptoms of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
It’s normal for the mother to feel low during the first few weeks of her baby’s life. However, if you find that the baby blues are getting severe and it is lasting too long, then you need to get help with treating it immediately. Here are the symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders:
- Feelings of depression and sadness.
- Feeling panicky and anxious most of the time.
- Feeling as though you are not in control or going crazy.
- You want to harm yourself and your baby.
- Problems with both eating and sleeping.
- Having difficulty with bonding with your baby.
- Feeling as though motherhood is not for you and that it should have never happened.
- Feeling irritable and angry with those around you.
How to Treat Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Consult a Psychiatrist:
Make a note of all your symptoms and show them to your psychiatrist. This way your psychiatrist can give you an accurate diagnosis. They will also prescribe medications that can help with stabilizing your condition and mood. “Medications can be particularly helpful with postpartum depression because there is such a strong hormonal component to the development of these symptoms,” explains Lindsay Henderson, PsyD, psychologist who treats patients virtually via telehealth app LiveHealth Online. Ensure that you notify your psychiatrist if you are breastfeeding, as some medications may not be safe for lactation. You will also need psychotherapy, to help you overcome perinatal disorders.
Get Plenty of Sleep:
Lack of sleep aggravates perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. So, try and get plenty of rest whenever you can. Take some time off from work if you need to and nap during the day while your baby is sleeping. You can even ask your partner to attend to your baby at times during the night so that you can catch up on sleep. Also, ensure that you cut out caffeine later in the day so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
You won’t be able to exercise for hours on end. You can try and set aside around 30 minutes in a day to get some exercise. It will improve your mood, help you shed off the baby weight and keep you fit. Try some breathing exercises and yoga to help with keeping you relaxed both mentally and physically.
Search for Support Groups Online:
Having the support of other mothers who are also faced with perinatal disorders can help you. You won’t feel alone and isolated. You will also form new friendships and get the support that you need.
Eat Healthy Foods:
“One of those ways is by having a solid postpartum nutrition plan in place to nourish yourself back to health. And you can start by eating nutrient-dense foods to support your body after giving birth, which is one of the most profoundly useful things you can do in the first six months postpartum (and beyond)”, says Alejandra Carrasco,MD. Eat foods that are high in antioxidants. By eating a healthy diet and staying free of junk food, it can help you with improving your mood and reducing depression as well as anxiety.
Reference: Psychology Today