Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD)

Did you know that the most common complications of pregnancy are Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders?  Are you thinking becoming pregnant, are currently pregnant, or have you recently had a baby?

It’s important for you to know that perinatal illnesses are totally treatable.  With the right kind of support, therapy, and in some cases, medication, women do recover from these illnesses.

In addition to my own experience with Perinatal Anxiety and Depression after the birth of my son, I have training from Postpartum Support International which makes me uniquely qualified to treat these illnesses.  I have treated women with all types of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder, and I have seen moms recover from these illnesses.

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Symptoms of PMAD

The following list includes just a few of the symptoms that could indicate that you may have one of the many Perinatal Mood or Anxiety Disorders.

  • Feeling sad, depressed, anxious, or panicky
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Regretting getting pregnant or having your baby
  • Trouble eating, sleeping, and enjoying activities you used to enjoy
  • Experiencing upsetting thoughts that you cannot get out of your mind
  • Feeling like you are “going crazy."
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Other Perinatal Illnesses

Many moms will experience some mood changes during pregnancy and after the birth of their baby. And as many as 15% to 20% of women will experience more significant symptoms of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.  These illnesses include Pregnancy and Postpartum Depression, Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety, Pregnancy and Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Postpartum Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Bipolar Mood Disorder, and Postpartum Psychosis. 

Pregnancy and Postpartum Depression

Can cause changes in eating and sleeping habits, difficulty concentrating, feelings of sadness and hopelessness, irritability, guilt, lack of interest in the baby and in activities one used to find enjoyable, and feelings of wanting to hurt oneself or the baby.

Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety

Causes intense worry and fear and even panic attacks, which can cause shortness of breath, pain in the chest, heart palpitations, dizziness, feeling as if you may pass out, and feeling like you are losing control.

Postpartum Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Can occur if you had a traumatic experience during the birth of your child, or a past trauma.  Symptoms include nightmares, anxiety, feeling like you are experiencing the trauma again (flashback), and avoidance of people, places, and things that remind you of the trauma.

Pregnancy and Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Marked by repetitive, distressing and unwanted/intrusive thoughts or images, which are known as obsessions.  Sometimes people who experience obsessions need to do certain things over and over to lower the anxiety caused by those thoughts.  This is called a compulsion.   These thoughts and images can be very frightening and unusual.   Most people are not likely to act on these thoughts.

Bipolar Mood Disorder

Marked by high (manic) and low (depressed) moods.  Many women are first diagnosed with Bipolar Mood Disorders during pregnancy.

Postpartum Psychosis

Symptoms of Postpartum psychosis include seeing or hearing voices or images that others do not (hallucinations), believing things that are not true (delusions), feeling mistrustful of others (paranoia), confusion, and memory loss.  This rare but severe illness is dangerous and requires immediate treatment.  Please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis.

Perinatal Resources

Visit the Postpartum Support International - Connecticut Chapter website.

Learn more about Pregnancy & Postpartum Mental Health on the Postpartum Support International website.

View the Addressing Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders resource guide.

Are you or someone you know struggling during or after pregnancy?

I would be happy to meet with you to discuss treatment options and to offer you support and hope.