Get Help Sooner Than Later for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Perhaps you have heard by now: postpartum depression is the #1 complication of childbirth. One in seven women will experience an episode of mood disturbance significant enough to be diagnosed as a clinical illness. Sometimes the most prominent symptoms are feelings of extreme worry, guilt and restlessness, which feel more like anxiety than depression. But all of these symptoms tend to go hand in hand, and are unique to each person. Many women disregard their symptoms, chalking them up to new motherhood, and being tired. Some notice that they don’t feel normal, but decide to take a wait and see approach. The most important issue is that if you are not feeling like yourself, reach out for help, and reach out sooner than later. It is true that having some moodiness after a baby IS normal. Within the first two weeks of childbirth, most women experience the “baby blues” which should pass by week three postpartum. The “baby blues” is experienced by over 80% of new moms, so it is not considered a disorder. However, if you are more than two weeks postpartum, and you are still feeling extremely sad, anxious, or “not right” now is the time to reach out for help. Postpartum depression tends to get worse and last longer, the longer you wait to see if it resolves on it’s own. The women I see in our practice who have waited for months to get help, tend to be more symptomatic and in need of more intervention and treatment in order to recover. There is no reason to suffer alone and in silence. Postpartum depression and anxiety is very treatable, and we know how to do it! Usually, treatment involves some counseling to talk about symptoms and develop a plan together for recovery. It may include psychotherapy to deal with internal struggles, or an exercise, sleep or support plan to deal with the physical stresses. In some cases, mothers are referred for medication when necessary. The good news is that a variety of approaches help postpartum depression resolve, and mothers return to their lives and their babies feeling healthier and happier. And those who seek help sooner, and commit to a plan for recovery, tend to bounce back quicker. So, if you are not feeling well, give us a call at CPFH and we will help you figure out the next steps to take. Be well, mom!