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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

Mood Disorders?


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.


Screening methods 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.



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.


Postpartum 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.


*Dictionary of Medical Syndromes,

Lippincott-Raven Publishers, pages 646-647, 4th Ed., 1997, Philadelphia/New York,



Symptoms of PPD May Include:

• Intense fatigue, exhaustion

• Sleeping too much or too little

• Fluctuating moods

• Feelings of fear, guilt, anger, shame

• Lack of joy in life

• Fear of being alone

• Withdrawal from social situations

• Inability to cope with routine tasks


Symptoms of Postpartum

Psychosis May Include:

• Being out of touch with reality

• Visual and auditory hallucinations

• Catatonic behavior

• Suicidal thoughts, urges

• Thoughts of harm coming to baby

• Paranoia, Delusions

• Increased decline in personal hygiene


What Causes Postpartum



At 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


American College of Obstetricians

and Gynecologists (ACOG)

(800) 762-2264 •

American Psychological Association

(800) 374-2721 •

Depression After Delivery, Inc. (Brochure download in Polish)

National Institute of Mental Health

(866) 615-6464 •

Online PPD Support Group – (Brochure download in Spanish/Greek/Italian)

Postpartum Support International, PSI

(805) 967-7636 •

The National Women's Health

Information Center

(800) 994-9662 •





This brochure was needed to implement PA State Bill, "now", H.R. 1488, first introduced in 2003.  The brochure needed specific language written as outlined in the guidelines of the Bill and as such no available brochure could be found to accomplish this.  The bill, when reintroduce and passed, will demand from all caregivers that they hand it out to every pregnant women in the state of Pennsylvania.  Senator Piccola's team, that has been overseeing the brochure's completion and they assure me that even without the Bill's passage - the brochure will be available to those legislators wanting to send them to their constituents.


I have also been assured that I can have as many copies of the soon to be printed brochure as I need - they really should not have told me that - I plan to hand out "lots". In fact, I plan to visit every OB Clinic and Hospital - as far away as Chambersburg Hospital where it all began for me.





I want to thank personally my number one fan, Crista C. Gray - our daughter!   Her unwavering support and guidance initially - with language and DSM-IV classifications was very crucial to the validity of this brochure. The differences are many between how the medical field, the legal courts and doctors see to address this critical time in a woman's life.


The early-on critiques of PSI's founder, Jane Honikman, were very insightful and accurate within "our" movement. However, due to the requirements of the Bill, the valid point made regarding  inclusion of  "families" who adopt could not be used, but did not go unnoticed.  I do so appreciate her generous time and support.


A BIG thank you to Stacey Glaesmann of Houston, Texas. Stacey offered to fine-tune information regarding Psychosis - within the brochure.  I would not have felt comfortable sending it back to Senator Piccola without having a professional look it over "one last time".  Stacey took up where my daughter left off and for that I am one lucky advocate. Thanks Stacey!


Life's gem - My partner, my husband, my friend


Behind-the-scenes in accomplishing this brochure was a husband who saw the tears sneaking up on me as I grappled with listing symptoms, disorders and information on psychosis.  Somehow, he knew what to say at the right time to keep me on track. Up until just a few short years ago, we could not discuss anything postpartum. It was just too painful for him. We both have come full circle and I am very thankful to my husband for giving me my angel wings. Without them, I would have stayed as a cocoon.  I feel very blessed!  

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