Perinatal depression: Understanding Depression in Pregnancy & Postpartum
You’ve heard about postpartum depression and may be wondering what perinatal depression is and how it is different from Baby Blues.
To discuss this, let’s start by talking about what is term perinatal. It refers to the time period from conception to up to 3 years after childbirth.
Baby blues is a normal adjustment period that impacts about 85% of people after birth. You may experience emotional ups and downs, tearfulness/crying and may not know why, and feel anxious. These symptoms tend to be manageable and usually resolves itself in 2-3 weeks. It is important to note the baby blues is not a mental health disorder unlike perinatal depression. Perinatal depression does not resolve on its own and the symptoms are unmanageable. It often requires mental health support in addition to peer support.
So, let’s talk more about perinatal depression. It affects 10-20% of people during pregnancy and postpartum. Those struggling with perinatal depression:
Down or have low mood or sadness
Irritable and/or upset
Numb or feel empty inside
Hopeless, worthless, & powerless
Guilty and/or ashamed
Worry about baby’s safety
No one understands them or gets them
No one knows what they are going through
Believe that they have to struggle alone
It is their fault or something is wrong with them
Believe that they are not good enough
Believe that they are a bad mom(parent)
Believe that their baby or family would be better off without them (suicidal thoughts)
Isolate themselves from others or not participate in social activities or events
Have difficulty concentrating
Have difficulty sleeping
Experience a change in their appetite
Are hostile towards others (partner/supports and/or baby)
Have no interest in things that you use to enjoy or found pleasurable
Have muscle aches/tensions (headaches, stomachs, shoulder and back tension, etc.)
What can I do to treat symptoms of perinatal depression? What are my options?
There are many options that you can do to feel better. It is important that you speak with your healthcare provider about your symptoms.
Take care of yourself
Getting social support and creating your village that you can rely on for support
Therapy services from a trained perinatal mental health professional
Medication management: This can be from your primary care doctor, OB, registered nurse practitioner, or reproductive psychiatrist.
If you (or someone you know) are experiencing perinatal depression, you are not alone. I can help! Contact me to schedule a free consultation today!