Depression is the most common complication of pregnancy
80% of women experience the "baby blues" in the first 2-3 weeks post-pregnancy
1 in 5 women will suffer from postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs)
What was classically called postpartum depression is now being called perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). This is because as we have more data and more mothers sharing their experiences, we're learning that many women that have mental health exacerbations after pregnancy actually began experiencing the start or worsening of depressive and anxious symptoms during their pregnancies-- otherwise known as the perinatal period.
It might be hard to recognize symptoms of perinatal or postpartum depression and anxiety because many women assume what they are experiencing is within the normal range of pregnancy-related exhaustion, adjustment to a new pregnancy or baby, paired with a guilt or shame that "all other moms make it through this". While life is challenging you in new ways, it shouldn't be debilitating you, causing you extreme distress, or making you white-knuckle your way through your pregnancy journey. You may be suffering from a treatable perinatal mood and anxiety disorder.
How will we know if this is a more typical adjustment period (also known as "baby blues") or a more concerning depression that would benefit from treatment? We'll use both your personal experience and my clinical experience. It's normal to feel fatigued, exhausted, and more emotional during and after your pregnancy. But if you are crying uncontrollably, having panicky feelings, feeling unbonded to your baby, feeling overly protective of your baby and unable to allow others to care for them, excessive guilt related to being a mother, lashing out at your partner or other children with irritability and rage, feeling like you should never have become a parent or simply feeling hopeless, spiraling and stuck, these are all signs that you might have perinatal or postpartum depression.
The good news is that this is extremely treatable and you can feel like yourself again. I specialize in working with women who are suffering from perinatal or postpartum depression and have seen patients get better over and over again. Our treatment plan may include both medications and/or therapy, and I am committed to working with you, your family and your other providers to make sure we are all on the same page to support you through your journey.
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