PMAD FAQ's

+ How many moms experience postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety?

Research shows that 1 in 5 mothers in the first five months and 1 in 7 mothers in the first year experience perinatal mood disorders. This number could be even higher, as miscarriages aren’t being calculated in that data.

PPD and PPA can emerge within the first 3 years after childbirth. Your risk factors of developing PMADs increase based on previous mental health concerns, traumatic family history, traumatic birth, NICU stay, and lack of access to a support system.

+ What are the “baby blues”? How do I tell the difference between PPD and baby blues?

The baby blues is classified as a period of two weeks after the delivery of your baby, where you can experience highs and lows related to becoming a mother. While it’s normal to feel some anxiety and sense of being overwhelmed, typically these feelings can be curbed with reassurance from a loved one. Such feelings may be accompanied by sadness, loss of self, and feeling as though you’re not sure why you became a mom. However, typically after being well-rested and receiving reassurance, you do not continue to have those thoughts.

PPD develops after the two week period is over, until three years postpartum. True PPD lasts longer than two or three weeks. Often, PPD includes anxiety and a sense of being overwhelmed that cannot be calmed by reassurance from loved ones, alongside a strong sense of “not feeling like one’s self.”

+ What are perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD's)?

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are mental health concerns with onset during pregnancy, or the first year postpartum.

- Signs of Postpartum Depression:

  • loss of appetite

  • sleep issues

  • difficulty concentrating and making decisions

  • intense guilt, frequent irritation, bouts of rage

  • withdrawal from loved ones

  • sadness, tearfulness, constant feeling of being overwhelmed

  • difficulties bonding with baby

  • thoughts of harming oneself, running away, or trying to escape life

- Signs of Postpartum Anxiety:

  • excessive worries and fears (often focused on the baby)

  • difficulty sleeping,

  • physical symptoms:

    • diarrhea, body aches, shoulder stiffness, headaches, and nausea

- Signs of Postpartum OCD:

  • obsessions: intrusive, scary thoughts or mental images that come into your mind that you do not want. These often relate to causing harm to your baby in some way, and do not reflect how you truly feel

  • compulsions: repetitive actions to reduce fears, such as cleaning obsessively, or purposefully avoiding stairs if you had an intrusive thought of dropping your baby on said stairs.

- Signs of Postpartum Panic Disorder:

  • recurring panic attacks which may include:

    • shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, and numbness in extremities

- Signs of Postpartum PTSD:

  • follows after a traumatic pregnancy, childbirth, or NICU stay

  • symptoms include re-experiencing the trauma in flashbacks, unwanted thoughts, and nightmares

- Signs of Postpartum Bipolar Disorder:

  • cycling between manic and depressed states

  • onset of mania includes:

    • rapid speech, grandiose thinking, little need for sleep, impulsivity, and irritability

-Signs of Postpartum Psychosis:

  • delusions, hallucinations, and mania

  • hearing or seeing things that other people do not

  • believing that you can no longer trust friends and family

  • believing that you are suddenly unique and special in some way, have some greater purpose, mission, or special powers

  • believing that the only way to get 'better' or to protect loves ones is to commit suicide, leave your family, or commit infanticide

  • you need to seek immediate medical attention by having someone take you to your nearest ER, or by calling 911. A medical team will help stabilize you and come up with a treatment plan.

It will take time and patience, but this is treatable.

This is not your fault, and with help you can be well.