Having a baby is a big life event. It’s natural to experience a range of emotions during pregnancy and after giving birth. But if any difficult feelings start to have a big effect on your day-to-day life and functioning, you might be experiencing a perinatal mental health disorder. This may be a new mental health disorder or an episode of a disorder you’ve experienced in the past. The perinatal period refers to any time from becoming pregnant up to a year after you give birth.
While many parents experience some mild mood changes during or after the birth of a child, 15 to 20% of women experience more significant symptoms of depression or anxiety. The term ‘baby blues’ refers to the change experienced by over 80% of mothers in the first few days after giving birth. Mother’s often feel teary, moody, overwhelmed, and anxious. This is often due to the drop in hormone levels, lack of sleep, and of course, the very big transition into parenthood.
But if you are experiencing any one or more of the below symptoms, two weeks after giving birth you may have a form of perinatal mental health disorder.
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Feeling more irritable or angry with those around you
- Having difficulty bonding with your baby
- Feeling anxious or panicky
- Having problems with eating or sleeping
- Having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out of your mind
- Feeling as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”
- Feeling like you never should have become a parent
- Worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself
Both mothers and fathers are at risk for a perinatal mood disorder. But know that with informed care you can prevent a worsening of these symptoms and can fully recover. There is no reason to continue to suffer. To make an appointment, contact me here
To learn more about postnatal depression and anxiety, you can visit these websites:
- Postpartum International Support www.postpartum.net
- The Post-Natal Depression Support Association of South Africa www.pndsa.org.za
- Perinatal Mental Health Project www.pmhp.za.org
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If you would like to book a session or to discuss any of the above information, please contact me below. I look forward to hearing from you.