Healthy New Moms is a program of the Mental Health Association of Maryland with support from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene — Behavioral Health Administration. Healthy New Moms works to raise awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and offer support and resources to moms, families and providers across the state.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), ‘baby blues’ is a term used to describe the feelings of worry, unhappiness and fatigue that many women experience after having a baby. Babies require a lot of care, so it’s normal for mothers to be worried about, or tired from, providing that care. Baby blues, which affects up to 80% of mothers, includes feelings that are somewhat mild, last a week or two, and go away on their own.
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are mood disorders that affect between 15-20% of women during and up to one year after pregnancy. There are many illnesses that fall into this category including perinatal depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosis. With perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), feelings of sadness and anxiety can be extreme and might interfere with a woman’s ability to care for herself or her family. Because of the severity of the symptoms, PMADs usually require treatment.
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders can affect any woman, regardless of age, race, ethnicity or economic status.
What you may be experiencing is common and help is available. Having a baby can feel very isolating and if you are struggling with depression and/or anxiety, you may feel even worse. Talk to someone! Some options include your OB/GYN, your child’s pediatrician, your family practice doctor, your friend, your family, etc.
To learn more, including signs and symptoms, find resources and support groups, visit www.healthynewmoms.org.