About Perinatal Mood Disorders
Firstly, What Does 'Perinatal' Mean?
Perinatal means the period all around birth; from the beginning of your pregnancy until 18 months after birth
Perinatal Mood Disorders (PMDs)
Having a baby is a big event. Its is normal to feel a range of emotions during pregnancy and after birth. However, sometimes more serious symptoms develop during your pregnancy and in the weeks and months after birth.
When the symptoms last over 72 hours with no relief and start impacting your ability to care for your baby, yourself, and your ability to function in your daily tasks, you may be suffering from a Perinatal Mood Disorder. It is time to seek help.
PMD's Are Not The Baby Blues
Most women feel restless and emotional in the days following birth. You may feel weepy, anxious, and irritable as well as experiencing mood swings. This is called the baby blues and is a normal adjustment to the drop of oestrogen and hormone changes in your body. The baby blues usually resolve themselves by two weeks postpartum.
WE ARE HERE.
1 in 4 women in the community suffer
with perinatal mood disorders
If you feel like you have a perinatal mood disorder contact Menucha for support or have a look at some of our resources by clicking here
If you know someone who is suffering from a perinatal mood disorder take a look at our information for family and friends for further advice by clicking here
Perinatal Mood Disorders and Their Symptoms
Perinatal Anxiety (PA)
Persistent racing thoughts, worrying , lack of concentration, irritability, sleep disturbance, physical tension, and loss of appetite.
Flashbacks and nightmares, anxiety, and panic about a certain event, Persistent increased arousal and hypervigilance.
Birth Trauma or PTSD
Persistent intrusive thoughts, often about the baby, regularly repeated compulsions to reduce fear. Experiencing images and visions which are reccuring.
Perinatal Depression (PD)
Often develops when other mood disorders are not treated. Crying and intense sadness, a loss of interest in activities that once brought joy.
This is a very serious disorder which affects 0.1% of new mothers. Extreme confusion, delusions or strange beliefs, refusal to eat. Seeing or hearing things that may not be a reality.
Postpartum Psychosis (PPP)
Difficulty adjusting to the change of having a baby.
What To Do About a Perinatal Mood Disorder
Firstly don't blame yourself; this is not your fault. A diagnosis does not make you a bad or incompetent parent. Perinatal Mood Disorders are very common, affecting 1 in 4 women. With treatment, most women go on to make a full recovery.
A therapist specialising in perinatal mental health can make an enormous difference. They have been trained to answer your questions and can provide a safe place to express your feelings. They can also teach you tools to help alleviate your symptoms. Menucha has a team of specialist therapists who are ready to help you.
Medications have a high success rate in treating Perinatal Mood Disorders. Some women worry about having to take medication long term or that it might harm their baby when breastfeeding. In reality most women only take medication for PMDs temporarily (for a few months to a year) until they feel better, and many antidepressants have been proven safe for breastfeeding mothers. Always discuss any concerns with your GP or health provider.
Talk to friends and family who care or to people who understand and can provide support and encouragement. For more information on how friends and family can support you click here.
It is important to look after yourself during your recovery, looking after your health and making time to do activities you enjoy.