Many women experience a variety of mood symptoms after they give birth. In fact, as many as 80 percent of women will experience "baby blues" for a short time after delivery. For other women, however, these symptoms are more severe and can last much longer. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) affect one in seven mothers.
The symptoms of this condition vary between women. Postpartum depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder are all types of PMADs and can be treated by a healthcare professional.
A woman experiencing a PMAD may feel exhausted, anxious, irritable, hopeless, restless, distant or suicidal. You may not feel like yourself or feel out of control. If symptoms last more than two weeks, it is important that you speak to your healthcare provider.
Following these tips can help you cope with this condition:
Ask for help. Don't be embarrassed by your feelings. Often a doctor can help relieve your symptoms if you take the first step and seek help. Counseling and medication are options for treatment. Pull in your partner and family members for support and connection.
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Seek out others. Support groups and online forums can help you connect with other mothers who are feeling the same way. Acknowledging that you're not alone can be very helpful.
Take care of yourself. If you can, sleep when your baby sleeps, eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise. Being active helps support your physical and mental well-being.
Learn more about getting help for PMADs at St. Vincent.