Key Facts About Maternal Mental Health
is a myth that pregnancy is a universally glowing, happy time
and that new parenthood is "the most wonderful time in
reality is that symptoms of depression and anxiety occur in
ten to twenty percent of expectant and new mothers. This means
that these emotional symptoms are the most common complication
of pregnancy, affecting up to 800,000 women per year
in the USA.
and anxiety during pregnancy can decrease blood flow through
the umbilical cord, resulting in low birth weight, small head
circumference, and possible effects on the baby's brain development.
and anxiety in the mother after birth can affect the parent-child
relationship, resulting in developmental, learning, and behavioral
problems in the child.
depression is a misnomer; symptoms of anxiety in new mothers
are more common.
are not to blame! Maternal mental illness is not a weakness,
and women cannot will themselves better. Women with a personal
or family history of emotional difficulties are at greatest
signs during pregnancy or postpartum includes difficulties with
sleeping, eating, or caring for herself or the baby, thoughts
about hurting herself or the baby, or intense feelings of energy,
anxiety, or sadness.
obsessions, thought about harm that can come to the baby, affect
3-5% of new mothers. These thoughts represent no danger to the
baby, and can be distinguished from postpartum psychosis, where
there is risk for the baby.
is the first line of defense, because realistic expectations
about new parenthood can decrease the occurrence of depression
is available! These disorders are treatable.