1 in 5 pregnant and new mothers are diagnosed with what may become a serious illness if left untreated.

 

 

 

1 in 4 of these mothers have thoughts of

self-harm.

Without screening, support, and treatment, these women could be in serious danger, as suicide is the second leading cause of death in postpartum women. 

 

1 in 10 fathers are diagnosed with what may become a serious illness if left untreated.

UNDERSTANDING THE STRUGGLES

It is more common than people realize that new parents go through emotional and hormonal changes. It's important for them — and those who love them — to understand the symptoms and signs of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety and to reach out to family, friends, and medical professionals for help.

Whether someone is becoming a parent for the first time or the fourth, the weeks and months, in some cases even years, after the baby's birth could be as overwhelming as they are joyful and exciting. After giving birth, moms do not really have the opportunity to fully recover before they have to start taking care of a newborn. This is a big adjustment period for fathers, too. Being exhausted and sleep-deprived can lead to mental health disorders. 

Parenthood is not, in itself, a psychological or medical problem. But the challenges inherent in childbearing and child-rearing can lead to clinical consequences, with studies showing that a parent is more likely to be:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, empty, or overwhelmed

  • Crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason

  • Worrying or feeling overly anxious

  • Feeling moody, irritable, or restless

  • Oversleeping, or being unable to sleep even when the baby is asleep

  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

  • Experiencing anger or rage

  • Having frequent conflicts with their partner

  • Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable

  • Suffering from physical aches and pains, including frequent headaches, stomach problems, and muscle pain

  • Eating too little or too much

  • Withdrawing from or avoiding friends and family

  • Having trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment with the baby

  • Persistently doubting the ability to care for her baby

  • Thinking about harming herself/himself or the baby.

Perinatal Mood Disorders can affect any parent regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or economic status.

Only a health care professional can diagnose a parent with a perinatal mood disorder. Because symptoms of this condition are broad and may vary between parents, a health care professional can help figure out whether the symptoms the parents are feeling are due to postpartum depression or something else.

With support and treatment, new mothers and fathers can go on

to be healthy and happy parents.

WORRIED ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL? 

Wondering where to turn for help? Doing a self-test for depression, anxiety, OCD can help you find out.

IS YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM STRONG?

Practical and emotional support are important in protecting against perinatal mental health disorders. Take this survey to see how your social support system measures up.

If you are having suicidal thoughts or are concerned about someone else who may be suicidal, please call: 855-587-6373

National Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK [8255]

For grief support call 415-499-1195.

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