Maternal Mental Health
Did you know that the most at-risk time for most expecting mothers is within the first 30 days following childbirth?
Yet, this is also the time where new mothers experience the least amount of support! Your postpartum experience is influenced by a variety of factors, including what kind of birth experience you had, how much social/family support you have, genetics, hormone changes, breastfeeding experiences and the socio-political context that shapes current medical resources for pregnant people in the US. Postpartum mental health challenges are very common and can affect individuals after giving birth. Some common postpartum mental health conditions include:
1. Postpartum depression (PPD): PPD involves feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or joy in activities. It can also include changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and difficulty bonding with the baby.
2. Postpartum anxiety: This condition involves excessive worry, racing thoughts, restlessness, and physical symptoms like heart palpitations or shortness of breath. Individuals with postpartum anxiety may have intrusive thoughts or fears related to the baby’s safety.
3. Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Postpartum OCD involves intrusive and repetitive thoughts or images that lead to distress. These thoughts are often related to harm coming to the baby, and individuals may engage in repetitive behaviors to reduce anxiety.
4. Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Some individuals may experience PTSD following a traumatic childbirth experience. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance, and avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event.
5. Postpartum psychosis: This is a rare but severe condition that requires immediate medical attention. It involves symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, extreme mood swings, and confusion.
Whether you had pre-existing mental health conditions or not, postpartum is such a delicate time period where your entire world has gone through an incredible transformation. Your body, mind, relationships and identity are all shifting at once and it can be isolating, scary and hard- as well as beautiful and blissful in so many ways. All of the above conditions can impact mothers before the baby is born too- perinatal mental health is just as important as post partum care.
At our practice we have deep compassion for mothers-of all genders, recognizing that mothers bear the weight of the world and are so overlooked and undervalued by society. Prompt recognition and treatment of postpartum and perinatal mental health challenges are crucial for the well-being of both you and your new (or expecting) baby. We would love to support you no matter where you are in your journey to matresence. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but mother’s need villages, too.