Research published in April’s Pediatrics journal showed that 15% of new moms experience clinical levels of anxiety.
Dr. Ian Paul, a professor of pediatrics and public health sciences at the Penn State College of Medicine and the lead researcher stated “Childbirth tends not to be a depressing situation for a majority of women, but it is anxiety-provoking, especially for first-time moms.”
1,100 new mothers took part in the study and after their hospital stay giving birth they were followed up with phone surveys at two weeks, two months and six months after delivery to assess anxiety, depression, breast-feeding duration and health care use.
The PPD Alliance of Illinois has worked hard at increasing awareness of pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders over the past 18 years and we are happy that it has become routine in many hospitals and pediatrician offices for doctors and nurses to ask about depression symptoms and to administer screening tools for postpartum depression. Over the past few years we now know that it is really important to include screening tools and ask about anxiety symptoms too.
There is a lot of worry around how to care for a new baby. You suddenly find yourself totally responsible for a new life and lack of sleep makes you especially vulnerable if you do not have someone to support you emotionally and practically.
Women who are worriers, perfectionists, have high and often unrealistic expectations for themselves are especially at risk.
If you find that worry and racing thoughts are affecting your enjoyment in life, please reach out as support is available. I use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)during our therapy sessions which is proven to help you identify what thoughts are triggering your negative thoughts and through problem solving and stress reduction strategies we provide you with coping tools that reduce anxiety.
If you want to read more about maternal mental health download the FREE Guide To Pregnancy & Postpartum Stress, Anxiety & Depression. It is full of information about symptoms, different types of maternal mood disorders and advice about what to do to start feeling like yourself again.
Dr. Sarah Allen has 20+ years experience as a psychologist helping women transition to being the mom they want to be. She is also the Director of the Postpartum Depression Alliance of IL, a non-profit offering info and support to pregnant and postpartum moms and their families.
If you have questions after reading this article or the Guide To Pregnancy & Postpartum Stress, Anxiety & Depression or have any questions about how counseling can be useful to your particular circumstances please contact me at 847 791-7722 or on the form below.