PREGNANCY & POSTPARTUM ANXIETY

Welcoming a new baby is a great joy, but it can also create great anxiety in many women.  While most people have heard of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety also affects a significant number of women, leading many doctors to label it the "hidden disorder."  In fact, approximately 6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety. Sometimes they experience anxiety alone, and sometimes they experience it in addition to depression.

 

The symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy or postpartum might include:

  • constant worry

  • feeling that something bad is going to happen

  • racing thoughts

  • sleep or eating disturbances

  • fidgeting or the inability to sit still

  • physical symptoms like trembling, shortness of breath, dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea

Many women feel intense shame surrounding their anxiety, often saying "I shouldn't worry!  I should focus on how wonderful it is to have a new baby!"  The presence of anxiety does NOT indicate a lack of love for the baby or a sign of parental incompetence, like anxious women often believe.  It does, however, signify the need for strategies to deal with pregnancy-related and postpartum anxiety.  Therapy can give new mothers the tools they need to put anxiety behind them and enjoy their new lives.