You've just had baby - congratulations! I'm sure you've been warned about the scary symptoms of depression during or after pregnancy, but I want to talk about the lesser-known cousin, anxiety during pregnancy or postpartum.
This is an often-overlooked condition that affects about one in five mothers during the transition into motherhood.
Read on to learn about the causes and symptoms of anxiety in pregnant or new mothers.
Signs and symptoms
Anxiety in pregnancy or during the postpartum period is characterized by:
- racing thoughts
- changes in sleep patterns (including difficulty sleeping)
- difficulty sitting still
- feeling "on edge"
- excessive worrying
These symptoms are unpleasant enough on their own but they're made worse when left untreated because they can lead to depression or even suicidal thoughts.
What causes postpartum anxiety?
Some risk factors for developing PPA include, but are not limited to:
- History (personal or family) of anxiety, perinatal depression or anxiety
- Thyroid Imbalance
- Lack of social support
One of the biggest risk factors for developing PPA is whether or not someone has a strong support system around her. Whether it be other mothers, family, significant others, etc., having someone to rely on can help reduce one's chances of developing PPA.
What if my symptoms don't go away?
If you are feeling some symptoms of anxiety during the transition into motherhood, the very best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to seek professional help. Untreated anxiety is unpleasant enough on its own but it can also lead to more serious health issues.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, I urge you to reach out to a therapist. There are many treatment options that are effective in treating anxiety.