About Perinatal Mood Disorders
First and foremost, it's important to understand the meaning of "perinatal." The term "perinatal" refers to the period surrounding birth, encompassing the time from the beginning of pregnancy until 18 months after childbirth. It's a significant phase that includes both pregnancy and the postpartum period.
When you have a baby, it is normal to experience a range of emotions during pregnancy and after giving birth. However, in some cases, more severe symptoms may develop during pregnancy or in the weeks and months following birth. If these symptoms persist for more than 72 hours without relief and begin to impact your ability to care for your baby, take care of yourself, and function in your daily tasks, it's possible that you may be experiencing a Perinatal Mood Disorder (PMD). Seeking help at this point is important.
It's common for women to feel restless, emotional, weepy, anxious, irritable, and have mood swings in the days following birth. This is referred to as the "baby blues." It's important to note that PMDs are different from the baby blues. The baby blues are considered a normal adjustment to hormonal changes, particularly the drop in estrogen, that occur in your body after giving birth. Typically, the baby blues resolve on their own within two weeks postpartum.
If you believe you may be experiencing a perinatal mood disorder, it's essential to reach out for support. Menucha is available to provide you with the assistance you need during this challenging time. You can contact us for support or access helpful resources by clicking here. Additionally, if you know someone who is struggling with a perinatal mood disorder, Menucha offers information and advice for family and friends to better understand and support them. You can find more information by clicking here.
Remember, seeking help and support is a courageous step towards healing. You don't have to face this alone, and there are resources available to assist you in navigating perinatal mood disorders and finding the support you need. By clicking here, you can explore firsthand accounts of the transformative impact that Menucha has had on women who have been supported by our service.
Perinatal Mood Disorders and Their Symptoms
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.
Flashbacks and nightmares, anxiety, and panic about a certain event, Persistent increased arousal and hypervigilance.
Birth Trauma or PTSD
Perinatal Anxiety (PA)
Persistent racing thoughts, worrying , lack of concentration, irritability, sleep disturbance, physical tension, and loss of appetite.
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)
Persistent intrusive thoughts, often about the baby, regularly repeated compulsions to reduce fear. Experiencing images and visions which are reccuring.
Difficulty adjusting to the change of having a baby.
What To Do About a Perinatal Mood Disorder
First and foremost, it's crucial to remember that you are not to blame for your situation. It's important not to shoulder unnecessary guilt or self-blame. A diagnosis of Perinatal Mood Disorders does not indicate that you are a bad or incompetent parent. On the contrary, recognising and seeking help for your condition demonstrates your strength and dedication to your own well-being and that of your child.
It's essential to understand that Perinatal Mood Disorders are quite common, affecting approximately 1 in 4 women. This statistic highlights that you are not alone in facing these challenges. Many other mothers have experienced similar struggles and have successfully overcome them with the right treatment and support.
By seeking appropriate treatment, you are taking a significant step towards recovery. There are various effective treatments available, such as therapy, counseling, support groups, medication, and lifestyle changes. With the help of these interventions, the majority of women who experience Perinatal Mood Disorders go on to make a full recovery and regain their emotional well-being.
Remember, recovery takes time and patience. Be gentle with yourself throughout the process and acknowledge that healing is possible. You are a resilient individual, capable of providing the love and care your child needs. By prioritising your mental health and seeking the support you deserve, you are taking positive steps towards being the best parent you can be.
Seeking the support of a therapist specialising in perinatal mental health can truly make an enormous difference in your journey. These professionals have received specific training in this area and possess the knowledge and expertise to address your concerns and provide you with valuable guidance.
A perinatal mental health therapist can offer you a safe and non-judgmental space to express your emotions, fears, and worries. They understand the unique challenges and complexities associated with this stage of life and can empathise with your experiences. By sharing your thoughts and feelings with them, you can gain a sense of relief and validation, knowing that you are not alone in your struggles.
One of the significant benefits of working with a perinatal mental health therapist is that they can equip you with valuable tools and strategies to alleviate your symptoms. They can provide you with evidence-based techniques to manage stress, anxiety, depression, or other emotional difficulties you may be experiencing.
Menucha has a team of specialist therapists who are dedicated to supporting individuals like yourself. They have a deep understanding of perinatal mental health and are equipped to address your unique needs. Our therapists have the expertise to answer your questions, guide you through your challenges, and help you find healing and recovery.
Remember, reaching out for professional help is a sign of strength and self-care. A perinatal mental health therapist can be a valuable partner on your journey to well-being, providing you with the support and tools you need to navigate this challenging time.