PRENATAL/POSTPARTUM MOOD DISORDER BROCHURE TO IMPLEMENT PA Bill, H.R. 1488 (Note: The areas in "pink" are under
review by Senator Piccola's Office for brochure's final printing - stay tuned.)
Preparing for and having a baby
can be the
most exciting time in a woman's
life. Women will experience joy, pride, love – the expected feelings. However, unexpected feelings of fear, sadness, confusion and anxiety
can also be experienced by both pregnant women and new mothers. Becoming aware of what conditions to look for and knowing where to seek medical help as soon as possible is
in the best interest of all concerned.
The good news is that all mood disorders are treatable and you do not have to suffer needlessly in silence.
What are Prenatal and Postpartum
Prenatal and postpartum
mood disorders are varying states of emotional well-being that can affect women during their child-bearing years. Symptoms will
vary between each mood disorder and between women. Mood disorders
also affect women of all ages, racial,
and ethnic backgrounds and economic status.
are available to specialists who can rule out or provide a medical treat- ment plan for a pregnant woman or new mother
having difficulty withmood disorders such as: Prenatal or Postpartum Depression,
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, OCD; Anxiety-Panic Disorder; Post-traumatic
Stress Disorder, PTSD; and Postpartum Bi-polar Disorder. Some mood disorders have actual physical symptoms of chest pain,
trembling, heart palpitations - while
others will consist of persistent or repetitive thoughts and/or actions.
POSTPARTUM BLUES SYNDROME* (Postpartum Blues,
Depression and Psychosis)
• The baby
blues are shared by up to 80 percent of
new mothers. Consisting of mild,
temporary sadness, confusion, anxiety the blues generally peak 3 to 5 days after delivery and may last a few hours
or up to 14 days. If baby blues are accompanied by another mood disorder, seeking prompt
medical attention is very important.
• Postpartum Depression (PPD) is common
for about 20% of new mothers. PPD has similar symptoms of “baby blues", but symptoms will increase
in intensity. PPD can linger up to a year
without treatment. Women that experience
previous PPD have a 75% chance of recurrence. PPD can occur after having each child and there is no specific order in which
PPD may occur.
Psychosis is a serious disorder
for the mother and her family. A mother will have great difficulty distinguishing what is reality and what is fantasy.
While rare, psychosis needs the immediate
attention of a medical professional to set up a treatment
plan that may include medication, hospitalization and behavioral psychotherapy
until all issues are resolved. PPD and/or Baby Blues does
not have to precede or follow Psychosis – Psychosis can occur alone.
of Medical Syndromes,
Publishers, pages 646-647, 4th Ed., 1997, Philadelphia/New York,
Symptoms of PPD May Include:
too much or too little
• Fluctuating moods
of fear, guilt, anger, shame
• Lack of
joy in life
• Fear of
from social situations
to cope with routine tasks
Symptoms of Postpartum
Psychosis May Include:
out of touch with reality
and auditory hallucinations
• Catatonic behavior
of harm coming to baby
decline in personal hygiene
What Causes Postpartum
this time, all the
causes for PPD are still
unknown. Research shows that dramatic changes in estrogen and progesterone levels can trigger the many symptoms of
PPD. Lack of sleep can adversely affect concentration, energy and one's perception. Low serotonin and thyroid levels
can also cause depressive-like symptoms.
OTHER RISK FACTORS that play a part in a woman’s ability to cope and feel in control may include: Previous history of a mood
disorder or that of a family member; previous trauma or abuse; having had a long labor and compromised delivery; marital or
family problems; loss of a loved one; a sudden
change in home or work routine; abrupt weaning; and lack of a support system. all plays a part in a woman’s ability to cope and feel in control
of her mothering abilities.
How Does A Mood Disorder Affect
Mothers may unintentionally
neglect responsibilities in the care of their children due to intense feelings of
helplessness or hopelessness. These feelings
may lead mothers to not recognize the needs of their child. As a result, a mother may not know how to properly care
for her children. Parental neglect can
cause long-term psychological and emotional damage. Children may become introverted and have trouble socializing.
Academic performance may suffer, and children may have poor concentration that will hinder learning. A child may also suffer
from physical harm.
· Avoid isolation - connect with family and friends
· Make time for yourself
· Get plenty of rest – try to nap when baby is sleeping
· Accept offers of support and help with the baby
· Be realistic about expectations
· Join a mothers’ support group
· Practice healthy habits - eat nutricious foods, take a multi-vitamin and Omega-3 supplements, and exercise
exercise to boost
energy (Stroller-cise with baby)
Help Is Available: It is very important for a woman who feels she may be suffering
from depression or related mood disorders to openly express feelings, symptoms and concerns to family members and their doctor.
The National Hopeline Network
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433) or 9-1-1
College of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists (ACOG)
American Psychological Association
Delivery, Inc. (Brochure download in Polish)
National Institute of Mental Health
Online PPD Support Group – (Brochure
download in Spanish/Greek/Italian)
Postpartum Support International, PSI
(805) 967-7636 • www.postpartum.net
The National Women's Health