About 80% of women will experience some mood upset within the first 2 weeks after childbirth. This is completely normal. It's sometimes to referred to as the Baby Blues. But, for about 10%-12% of women it doesn't go away and this is when we start to consider the possibility of a perinatal mood disorder like postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety.
Depression is one of the most common complications during and after pregnancy. Perinatal mood disorders respond well to treatment so you have every reason to be hopeful that with the right kind of help you will be yourself again.
Anxiety and Depression During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and experiencing depression or anxiety that is interfering with your ability to work, socialize, take care of your daily responsibilities or take care of yourself and your unborn baby you should talk with your doctor and consider meeting with a qualified counselor about what you are going through. Some factors increase the risk of having depression or anxiety during and after pregnancy. They are:
- History of depression, anxiety or substance abuse
- Previous episodes of postpartum depression
- Family history of mental illness
- Lack of emotional or hands-on support
- Anxiety about the baby’s health
- Previous miscarriages or stillbirth
- Marital or financial problems
- Young age (of mother)
While there is no guaranteed way to ensure against postpartum depression early identification is key. If it is has been more than 3 weeks since you had your baby and you are still struggling you should talk to your doctor about your symptoms and consider meeting with a counselor to help you through this difficult time.
Common Symptoms of Perinatal Depression and Anxiety
Feeling sad and tearful
Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
Changes in your appetite
Fear of being left alone with your new infant
Withdrawing from friends and family
Feelings of guilt and shame
Feeling that your baby would be better off without you
Early diagnosis and treatment is very important. With the right support you will feel like yourself again.