Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders


Postpartum depression and anxiety can strip happiness away for a time.

Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
Is being a father much more difficult than you imagined?
Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
Do you feel sad, anxious or panicky?
Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out of your mind?
Do you long for the life you had before the baby was born?

Most new mothers experience mood swings and weepiness during the first 2-3 weeks after giving birth. Sometimes called “the baby blues”, this is a normal adjustment period and resolves without any medical assistance.

Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, however, are quite different. Symptoms can appear any time during pregnancy and the first 12 months after childbirth. One out of every seven women and one out of every ten men struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety.

Although the term “postpartum depression” is most often used, there are actually several forms of illness that women may experience, including depression, anxiety, obsessive symptoms, and post traumatic stress.

Navigating through a pregnancy and the postpartum period proves to be challenging for many women. As your therapist, I can provide support, reassurance, coping strategies, and a steady voice in the midst of change and, sometimes, even chaos.

Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Postpartum OCD is the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed of the perinatal disorders. You do not have to be diagnosed with OCD to experience these common symptoms of perinatal anxiety:

  • Obsessions, also called intrusive thoughts, are persistent and repetitive
  • Compulsions involve doing certain things over and over again to reduce fears
  • A sense of horror about the obsessions
  • Fear of being left alone with the infant
  • Hyper-vigilance in protecting the infant
Postpartum Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Approximately 9% of women experience postpartum PTSD following childbirth. These traumas could include:

  • Prolapsed cord
  • Unplanned C-section
  • Use of vacuum extractor or forceps to deliver the baby
  • Baby going to NICU
  • Feelings of powerlessness, poor communication, and limited support
  • Lack of reassurance during the delivery
  • Severe physical complication or injury related to pregnancy or childbirth

If you feel like any of these symptoms apply to you, reach out to us to request a free phone consultation.