1 in 7 women experience mood disorders anytime between pregnancy and onset of 1 year post partum. This can include depression, anxiety, OCD or PTSD.
1 in 10 men experience symptoms of mood disorders (Depression, Anxiety, OCD or PTSD) in the perinatal period as well.
You are not alone. It is not your fault.
With treatment, it can get better.
People with Perinatal Depression might experience feelings of anger, sadness, irritability, guilt, lack of interest in the baby, changes in eating and sleeping habits, trouble concentrating, thoughts of hopelessness and sometimes even thoughts of harming the baby or themselves.
People with Perinatal Anxiety may experience extreme worries and fears, often over the health and safety of the baby. Some people have panic attacks and might feel shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, a feeling of losing control, and numbness and tingling.
Perinatal OCD can have repetitive, upsetting and unwanted thoughts or mental images (obsessions), and sometimes they need to do certain things over and over (compulsions) to reduce the anxiety caused by those thoughts. These parents find these thoughts very scary and unusual and are very unlikely to ever act on them.
Perinatal PTSD is often caused by a traumatic or frightening childbirth, trauma surrounding miscarriage or stillbirth, fears for your life or the life of the baby during pregnancy or past trauma. Symptoms may include flashbacks of the trauma with feelings of anxiety and the need to avoid things related to that event.
The 'Baby-Blues' happen in 80% of new moms. They happen in the first two weeks after birth and are characterized by tearfulness, being emotional and moments of feeling overwhelmed. The predominant mood is happiness. Unless they are causing distress, the "Baby Blues" are normal and do not require treatment. However, if the dominant mood is not happiness or they last more than 2 weeks, a mood disorder should be investigated.
This assessment is not diagnostic. Risk factors do not cause postpartum depression. The intention is to help raise awareness of the factors that can potentially cause vulnerability to perinatal depression. This knowledge can help so that support networks can be mobilized and resources can be accessed. There is a link to a list below of factors that can increase susceptibility to depression.
This can be used by pregnant women to self-assess their level of risk and discuss the results with their doctor or psychologist or it can be used by professionals to assess risk in the clients they work with.
Kristine Aanderson is a Registered Psychologist who specializes in the treatment of Perinatal Mood Disorders including depression, anxiety, OCD and PTSD anytime from pregnancy to symptoms starting one year after birth. She has a private practice in southwest Edmonton. No referral needed, direct billing for Blue Cross insurance, baby-feeding friendly office, same-day appointments for emergencies.
Kristine completed the Seleni Institute of New York's Maternal Mental Health Intensive. This program focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of Perinatal Mood Disorders (Depression, Anxiety, OCD and PTSD) and processing grief from miscarriages and stillbirths.
Kristine completed the Post Partum Support International training on Perintal Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Components of Care. This training focused on Screening, Social Supports, Therapy for Perintal Depression, Anxiety, OCD and PTSD and treatment for moms, dads and members of the LGBTTQQIAAP community.
Post Partum Support International also offers a variety of supports, including a "Warm Line" (a phone line with messages returned within 24 hours) and live weekly group phone chats (one for moms and one for dads).
This podcast focuses on the Maternal Mental Health struggles related to becoming pregnant, being pregnant, birth and early parenthood. So, the podcast provides real life stories of moms, dads and family AND we will talk with experts, leaders and advocates in the field of maternal mental health and maternal health.
You deserve to be informed!
The Seleni Institute has a large library of articles for moms, dads, people supporting new parents and professionals. The topics are as wide ranging as tip sheets for new moms, coping with hyperemesis gravidarum, how to support new parents, managing a NICU stay, the 'Daddy Blues', coping strategies for perinatal loss and more.
Sick of all that pressure from social media to be a 'good mom'? Facebook pages like Scary Mommy talk about the realities of parenthood.
"We the history makers and the memory keepers.
We are the snot catchers and the butt wipers.
We've seen it all, heard it all, and smelled it all,
but we wouldn't have it any other way.
We are millions of unique women, united by motherhood.
We are scary, and we are proud."
The Perinatal Mood Disorder Support Group on Facebook, is a place for virtual peer support. Meaning, anyone experiencing a perinatal mood disorder can join, share what they are experiencing and hopefully feel supported by other individuals going through similar experiences!
This group is moderated by PMDA: Perinatal Mood Disorder Awareness, a registered non-profit organization devoted to increasing Awareness and Resources for perinatal mood disorders across Canada!
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