What are Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders?
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are mental health conditions arising during pregnancy or the first year after giving birth, including:
Depression – feelings of anger, sadness, irritability, lack of interest in things she used to enjoy, lack of interest in the baby, feelings of hopelessness, appetite changes, or sleep changes. Some women have feelings of wanting to harm herself or the baby.
Anxiety and panic disorder – extreme worries or fears, tension, feeling overwhelmed, panic attacks, fears about the health and safety of the baby.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – repetitive, upsetting mental images or thoughts, compulsive behaviors or rituals that decrease the anxiety associated with obsessive thoughts. Some moms have unwanted thoughts and images of the baby that they find very scary.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – flashbacks, anxiety, and fears related to a traumatic event including a scary or traumatic birth experience. Some women who experienced traumatic events as a child have an increase in anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum.
Psychosis – hallucinations which may include seeing or hearing things that other people don’t, very unusual beliefs that others can’t understand, extreme distrust of others, confusion, or memory loss. Postpartum psychosis is a serious emergency requiring immediate help from a doctor.
Symptoms can appear anytime from conception to the baby’s first birthday and may begin gradually or suddenly.
You are not alone and it’s not your fault.