Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders

Baby Blues: Starts approx.3-5 days after baby is born and includes tearfulness/crying, feeling overwhelmed, feeling uncertain, reactivity, fatigue, and sleep deprivation. This is not a disorder and symptoms last just 2 days to 2 weeks. Occurs in 50-80% of moms.

Perinatal Depression: Includes a more persistent gloomy mood and symptoms of sadness, crying; shame/guilt; sleep disturbances; loss of interest, joy, or pleasure; feeling overwhelmed; poor appetite; unexplained physical complaints; poor concentration/focus; irritability, anger/rage; feelings of hopelessness or helplessness; lack of feelings toward baby; not feeling like self; feelings of worthlessness.

Perinatal Anxiety: Can include agitation, irritability, inability to sit still, constant worry, confusion, racing thoughts, sense of needing to be productive, excessive concern about baby or own health, on high alert, appetite changes, and difficulty falling/staying asleep. Can include panic attacks with episodes of extreme anxiety that creates shortness of breath, chest pain, racing heart, and fear of dying/going crazy/losing control.

Perinatal OCD: Involves obsessive behaviors, such as cleaning, checking, counting, or ordering; hypervigilance; repetitive, intrusive, or scary thoughts; extreme guilt/shame. Obsessions are often about germs, cleanliness, or checking on baby. Moms are aware that thoughts are unhealthy and have extreme anxiety related to them.

Perinatal Bipolar Disorder: Over 60% of women with Bipolar Disorder are misdiagnosed with depression. Bipolar can have a peripartum onset. Includes periods of depression as well as periods of elevated mood, including euphoria or agitation, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, increased energy, and erratic behaviors often noticed by others. Can contain psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations, paranoia, or disorganized thinking.

Perinatal PTSD: Perinatal PTSD can occur in anyone who experienced or witnessed a birth trauma—anything during labor and delivery that involves actual or perceived serious injury to the mother or infant, such as emergency or invasive procedures, complications, hemorrhage, premature birth, stillbirth, etc. Often involves feelings of powerlessness, perception of lack of proper care or support, feeling abandoned or stripped of dignity, etc. Symptoms include flashbacks, distressing memories, anxiety/depression, numbing, and dissociation.

Perinatal Psychosis: More rare but occurs in 1-2 of every 1,000 moms. 5% results in suicide, 4.5% results in infanticide. Treatment is crucial. 50% of moms with postpartum psychosis have no previous psych hospitalization. Onset is usually within first 2 weeks after delivery and includes delusions, hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, disorganized thoughts, paranoia, rambling, and mood swings. Mom fails to recognize thoughts/actions as unhealthy or unreasonable.