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Maternal Mental Health
Maternal Mood Disorders is the umbrella term for mood and anxiety disorders that occur during pregnancy or up to one year postpartum, another common term used is Perinatal Mood Disorders.
These terms encompass women (and men) who experience postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, postpartum blues, and postpartum psychosis.
Depression After Pregnancy
Signs of PPD
Some symptoms of PPD may mean that a mother is experiencing something more serious than “the baby blues.” Multiple symptoms that don’t go away or thoughts of suicide may mean that the mother could need an evaluation by a health care provider or mental health professional. A new mother may experience extreme changes in:
Perinatal Anxiety - a range of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety; slightly less common than "baby blues" or PPD; impacts a reported 10% of new parents increasing and disruptive fears and worries (that make daily life much more difficult)
Symptoms include difficulty concentrating and focusing, restless sleep, panic attacks, irritability, muscle tension, upset stomach, increased heart rate, tightness in the chest.
Postpartum Obessive-Compulsive Disorder - Intrusive repetitive thoughts that are scary and do not make sense to the mother. 3-5% of new moms (and fathers) reported postpartum OCD symptoms at two weeks postpartum. Symptoms include guilt and shame over parenting decisions; frightening obsessions related to harm befalling the infant; hyper-vigilance in protecting the infant fear of being left alone with the infant; may or may not include compulsions (i.e., needing to clean constantly, count objects, check on things repeatedly, or reorder things.
Postpartum Psychosis - sudden onset of psychotic symptoms following childbirth; much more rare (0.1% of mothers) and often more acute in symptomology; requires immediate psychiatric evaluation and medical attention.
Symptoms include hallucinations (see someone else's face instead of your baby's), delusions (feeling as though your baby is possessed or "evil", confusion/disorientation about your reality, waxing and waning (there are periods of "normalcy" in between psychotic symptoms).
For local mental health services, contact the Reachout Hotline (toll-free) 1-800-522-9054 or visit the ODHMSAS website at http://www.odmhsas.org
Postpartum Support International (PSI)
James Craig, MSW, LCSW
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