Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health
Issues that arise during Pregnancy – Although often touted as a time of happiness and excitement, many women actually experience distressing symptoms such as excessive fears about their pregnancy or relationship problems with their partner. Additionally, all postpartum disorders (postpartum depression, anxiety, etc.) can begin during pregnancy.
Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders – The “Baby Blues” which are normal, begin within days of birth and last 2 weeks or less. The symptoms are sadness, tearfulness, worry that is not totally preoccupying or debilitating, or other mild symptoms that do not cause significant concern or impairment in functioning. However, about 15% of postpartum women will experience a more serious episode of depression, anxiety or other postpartum disorder. If symptoms last more than two weeks, involve significant eating or sleeping disruption (e.g. not sleeping when the baby sleeps), or are affecting relationships, leading to increased isolation or distress, affecting functioning at home or at work, or include any other distressing signs or symptoms, further assessment is needed.
Emotional Aspects of becoming a Parent/Growing as a Parent – The process of parenting or considering becoming a parent may awaken old issues that cause pain and confusion. This is also an opportunity to reevaluate and better understand old patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. Getting in touch with your values, hopes and needs regarding parenting, as well recognizing and evaluating your expectations, can lead to increased satisfaction with your decisions in this area.