Facts About Perinatal Mood Disorder
Perinatal Mood Disorders range in severity and can include depression, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and psychosis. These are all serious illnesses and while long-term effects are rare, PMD can have very serious consequences. Each year, PMD causes:
- A small number of women to commit suicide
- A small number of children to die at the hands of their mother
- Hundreds of women to be hospitalized
- Hundreds of families to be torn apart
PMD strikes all segments of society. Although not well understood, PMD has many risk factors including:
- Past history of depression
- Traumatic pregnancy and/or birth
- Hormone imbalances
- Poor social support
- High stress
Each woman’s experience with PPMD is different. Typical symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Extreme fatigue
- Anxiety attacks
- Inability to cope
- Feelings of inadequacy
- Feelings of detachment
- Obsessive thoughts
- Feelings of hopelessness
PMD is Treatable
Perinatal Mood Disorder is a treatable illness. As you prepare for the birth of your baby, here are some important steps you can take right now:
- Take the PMD quiz:
- Discuss PMD with your physician.
- Find a local support group. St.Vincent Women’s Hospital offers a PMD Support Group every Tuesday evening. Call (317) 415-7676 for more information.
- Talk to friends and family about PMD. You may be surprised to learn that others you know have also managed depression.
- Don’t wait. If mom is in jeopardy of hurting herself or the baby, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Dads and Care Partners Play an Important Role
When a mother is suffering from PMD, Dads and Care Partners play a very important role. In fact, Dads are often the first to realize that something is wrong and are often required to intervene in an emergency. Dads are also:
- Best positioned to monitor treatment on a daily basis
- Often required to assume more responsibility for well being of family
- Have the most at stake in her getting well
Most importantly, Dads can offer something that you can’t get from a bottle, physician, book or even the Internet – love.
For more information about PMD, talk with your doctor or visit postpartum.net or postpartumdads.org.