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pregnant woman, worries and anxiety about pregnancy

Perinatal Mood Disorders

What are perinatal mood disorders? 

Perinatal refers to the period from conception through the first year after giving birth

Perinatal mood disorders are common psychological issues that can include depression, anxiety, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis. Perinatal mood disorders can be overwhelming and have a significant impact on a new parent's ability to care for themselves and their baby.

These symptoms are termed as disorders as they interfere with your daily functioning. While these can occur to anyone at any time during their lives, there is an increased risk during the perinatal period, and symptoms can have a different presentation.  

Prevalence of PMADs

PMADs can impact anyone, both mothers and fathers. 

1 out of 5 to 7 women, and 1 out of 10 men suffer from post-partum depression. 

Baby blues or post-partum depression?

60 - 80% of mothers experience the "baby blues" 

  • Feeling tired, but still feel energised after resting

  • There are levels of worry and anxiety but overall experiencing joy and anticipation

  • Increased appetite

  • Mood fluctuates and may cry 

  • Overall self-esteem is unchanged 

If symptoms increase in severity, and intensity, and persist after two weeks postpartum, it is no longer the baby blues.

Symptoms may present in some ways (but not limited) to these: 

  • Feeling overwhelmed "I cannot cope with this" 

  • Lack of feelings or connection to the baby

  • Inability to take care of oneself or the family

  • Isolation, socially withdrawn

  • Easily irritable, may have frequent anger outbursts

  • Feelings of worthlessness 

  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts towards self or baby. 

If you're uncertain whether you're experiencing the common baby blues or a potentially more serious case of postpartum depression, please click here to access a survey to better understand your current emotional functioning.

Implications for mother and family? 

Research shows that PMADs does not usually resolve without treatment (Woolhouse H, et al. BJOG 2014) 

Without appropriate intervention, poor maternal health can have long term and adverse implications for the mother, child and their family. The mother's mental health have a direct impact on her partner and may place a strain on the couple's relationship. Seeking help through individual therapy can be an effective way to manage these. 

"You are not alone. You are not to blame." 

What can I expect in sessions? 

Our therapists are trained to support individuals experiencing perinatal mood disorders and can provide specialised treatment to address the unique challenges of this time. During therapy sessions, you will work with your therapist to develop coping strategies and identify triggers that may contribute to your mood disorder. Our goal is to help you develop the skills and confidence to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. We understand the importance of family support during the perinatal period and may work collaboratively with people in your support network. If you are experiencing perinatal mood disorder symptoms, we encourage you to seek help. We can help you navigate this challenging time and support your recovery. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our therapists.

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