Many women are unsure if they are experiencing Postpartum Depression/Anxiety or if it is the Baby Blues. The Baby Blues is short term (2 weeks postpartum) and is a normal part of postpartum adjustment. After 2 weeks, if emotionally you are still not feeling well, you may be experiencing a Perinatal Mood Disorder.
The term Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders is used to describe both anxiety and depressive symptoms. This is very important, as many women do not identify with the term Postpartum depression because they may be feeling more anxiety symptoms.
Postpartum depression (PPD) and Anxiety is the most common complication following childbirth, affecting 1 in 7 women. It is characterized by frequent crying, mood swings, irritability, extreme fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, loss of sexual interest, pervasive anxiety, appetite changes, negative scary thoughts, feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness. In addition, thoughts of suicide and feelings of anger, rage, shame and guilt can be present as well. It likely results from a combination of biological (your brain and body), genetic (your family history), psychological (your personality and make-up) and environmental (external stressors) factors in your life.
PPD contains symptoms of both depression and anxiety. When depressive symptoms are more prominent, it is considered postpartum depression. When anxiety is the primary symptom, it is considered a postpartum anxiety disorder. Postpartum anxiety disorders include panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. Depressive and Anxiety symptoms can also arise during pregnancy, which can affect a women’s emotional well-being while pregnant. After pregnancy, some women can experience Postpartum stress syndrome, which is a form of PPD and is considered an Adjustment Disorder. You may not feel severe depressive symptoms, but in general, you are having a difficult time adjusting to your new role due to several different factors.