Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders
What are Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders?
Perinatal mood & anxiety disorders refers to a group of disorders that includes depression, anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder, that occur during pregnancy or the postpartum period. Men can also experience emotional difficulty before or after a baby is born.
Up to 80% of women feel sad or anxious during the first weeks after childbirth of a baby- it’s often called the “baby blues”. If these symptoms continue or become worse, a woman may be experiencing depression. Depression and anxiety around the birth (or adoption) of a baby can affect up to 20% of mothers.
Although all women are susceptible to developing a mood or anxiety disorder around the birth of a baby, women who have one or more of the following factors have a moderate to significant increased risk:
- Depression or anxiety during pregnancy
- Stressful recent life events
- Lack of social support (either a perceived lack of support or a real lack of support)
- Personal and/or family history of mental illness
- Low self-esteem
- Being a “worrier” or having negative thinking styles
- Poor relationship with partner or close family member
*This information has been adapted from Postpartum Depression: A guide for front line Health and Social Service Providers (2005) Ross, L., Dennis, C., Blackmore,E., and Stewart, D.
If you are concerned that you may be experiencing a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, you don’t have to suffer in silence. You’re not the only one who feels this way. There’s plenty of help available to you.