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Maternal Mental HealthMom with baby

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
Many new mothers experience what is known as “the baby blues”. With “the baby blues”, new mothers may have mood swings; feel sad, anxious or overwhelmed; have crying spells; lose their appetite; or have trouble sleeping. These symptoms do not tend to be severe, do not need treatment and generally do not last more than two weeks.

The symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD), however, last longer and are more severe. PPD can be disabling for a new mother. PPD is a type of major depression that affects about 1 in 8 new mothers within the first year after childbirth. PPD can have a negative impact on a new mother’s health and her ability to care for her infant.

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:
Physical symptoms

While it is a serious condition, PPD can be treated successfully with medication and counseling.

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).

What’s New

Moms Share Experiences of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression Public Service Announcement - English
Postpartum Depression Public Service Announcement - Spanish

Free educational toolkit now online!

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

For more information and/or assistance, contact:

National Mental Health Association
(Toll Free) 1-800-969-NMHA (6642)

Postpartum Support International (PSI)
National hotline 1-800-944-4PPD (4773)

Contact Information:
Alesha Lilly, Ph.D

Director, Behavioral Health Program
OSDH/Child Guidance Service
1000 NE 10th Street                                
Oklahoma City, OK 73117-1299                                                     
Phone: (405) 271-4477, E-mail: Alesha Lilly

James Craig, MSW, LCSW
Public Health Social Work Coordinator
OSDH/Maternal and Child Health Service
1000 NE 10th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73117-1299
Phone: (405) 271-9444 ext. 56931, E-mail: JamesCC@health.ok.gov


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