It’s important to know when the emotions you are experiencing may be symptoms of mental health concerns, so that you can get connected to the right supports.
Parenting is hard. It is common to be overwhelmed.
We encourage anyone searching for information about the different types of pregnancy-related mental health concerns, including Pregnancy-Related Depression and Anxiety, Postpartum OCD, Postpartum Psychosis, and Postpartum PTSD, to visit Postpartum Support International’s curated hub of information.
The more you know, the easier it is to connect with the right support to help you or a loved one feel better sooner.
Recommended Resource: Postpartum Support International’s Mental Health Resource Hub
On this page, we want to highlight the symptoms of Pregnancy Related Depression and Anxiety, one of the most common mental health concerns. Keep reading to understand what pregnancy-related depression and anxiety might look like in you or a loved one.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related depression & anxiety?
Parents who struggle with pregnancy-related depression and anxiety may experience a wide range of symptoms:
- Sadness, crying, or depression
- Feeling ‘out of control’
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Intrusive thoughts
- Anger or irritation
- Feeling like they should have never become a parent
- Feeling worried or panicked
- Loss of interest in things they used to enjoy
- Feeling like someone else could better take care of their baby
- Difficulty bonding with their baby
- Lack of interest in the baby
- Worry that they might hurt themselves or the baby
If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health emergency, such as suicidal thoughts or feeling unsafe alone with your infant, please call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or text ‘TALK’ to 38255.
While anyone who has been pregnant or given birth may experience these symptoms, parents are at increased risk if they:
- Have had depression or anxiety before
- Have a history of abuse, neglect, or trauma
- Have issues within their relationship or family
- Have experienced complications in pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding
- Do not have family or friends to help with the baby
- Experience financial stress
- Had or have infants in the NICU
With help available, there is no reason for you or a loved one to continue to struggle. Keep reading below to find out how to seek informed support.
What is the difference between pregnancy-related depression & anxiety and the ‘baby blues?’
The ‘Baby Blues’ affects 70 to 80 percent of new parents. Symptoms like mood swings, trouble sleeping, or feeling sad and worried usually occur within 3-4 days after birth and resolve within 10 days. Baby Blues symptoms are usually mild and never include thoughts of harming yourself or others. If these symptoms occur during pregnancy, get worse, or extend beyond 10 days postpartum, you may be experiencing symptoms of pregnancy-related depression and anxiety.
Pregnancy-related depression and anxiety is often a result of hormonal changes and stress, but the exact cause is unknown. Pregnant and postpartum people, as well as partners, may experience symptoms and it is important for both to receive targeted support. We want you to know that many new and expecting parents go through this. It is a serious mental health concern, and getting the right support can help.
What should I do if I or a loved one experience these symptoms?
Pregnancy-related depression and anxiety is very common and treatable. Family members, friends, community programs, and mental health professionals care about your experience and are ready to provide support.
Do not wait for symptoms of pregnancy-related depression and anxiety to resolve on their own. It is important for parents to speak with a healthcare provider right away because help is available. The most common treatments are counseling and/or medication. With the right support, parents can and will feel like themselves again.
We encourage any parent who is struggling to reach out for professional help to visit Postpartum Support International or call PSI directly at 1(800) 944-4773. For more information on symptoms and different types of pregnancy-related depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns, please visit PSI’s Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health Overview.