Postpartum Anxiety and Depression Are Preventable: Know Your Risk Factors

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Anxiety and depression during and after pregnancy are common, yet many women don't recognize symptoms or know their own risk factors. Very often, expectant or new moms don’t know what to do for themselves when they begin to have problems. Many women try to push through without asking for help, which usually just make things harder.

Preventing Postpartum Anxiety and Depression

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has just announced their recommendation for preventing maternal anxiety and depression, recommending that doctors refer their patients to counseling—-before, during and after pregnancy. Their findings point to the effectiveness of counseling in preventing and treating postpartum mood and and anxiety disorders, in particular Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy.

Read the full article here:

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/02/12/693868871/task-force-to-prevent-postpartum-depression-at-risk-women-should-get-counseling

Know Your Risk Factors for Anxiety and Depression

As with any health issue, staying well means knowing when you’re at risk. There are a number of things that can increase your risk for postpartum anxiety and mood disorders. Knowing your risk factors can help you prevent anxiety and mood disorders by allowing you to act to take care of yourself before there is a problem. Risk factors include:

  • History of depression or anxiety

  • History of trauma, including childhood abuse and neglect, previous sexual assaults

  • Lack of social or family support

  • Previous miscarriages, still birth, newborn death

  • Complications during pregnancy or the birth process

  • Traumatic loss

How Counseling and Therapy Can Help

It’s important to know that you are not alone in what you’re going through, and that these issues are not only treatable, but preventable. One out of 7 women suffer from depression and anxiety during or after pregnancy. Counseling can help you in the following ways:

  • Learn new tools to support you in meeting the new challenges of parenting

  • Developing a preventive self care plan for pregnancy and postpartum

  • Strengthen your support system

  • Learn to ask for help and assert your needs

  • Learn self care and coping skills to minimize your risk and manage symptoms

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety are treatable and preventable.  If you'd like to learn more about how I can help, please contact me for a free phone consultation at (626) 808-5463 or write to me at hollyaevansmft@gmail.com

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: Recognizing When You Need Support

Having a baby is to supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life. But what if it isn't?

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If you've recently had a baby and aren't feeling like yourself, you're not alone. As many as 15 to 20% of new moms experience changes in mood that make taking care themselves and their new babies a struggle. Bringing a new baby home-whether it's your first or your third child-will naturally create some upheaval and stress, even in the best of circumstances. But if you're noticing significant changes in your mood past the first several weeks postpartum, it could be more than the “baby blues”.

Postpartum depression and anxiety is experienced differently for every woman, but here are some good things to know:

You're Not Alone: Postpartum Depression and Anxiety is Common

One of the things I make sure new moms know is that postpartum depression and anxiety is one of the most common complications of delivering a baby. They're often surprised and relieved, because they feel so alone in their experience. It can seem like every new mom is so together, handling new motherhood with confidence and joy. But appearances can be deceiving, as many women struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety are really good at masking what they're going through.

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Don't Discriminate

Any woman can be susceptible to postpartum depression and anxiety, regardless of age, income, ethnicity, how much support you have in your life, or how well your pregnancy and delivery went. According to the American Psychological Association, for half of women diagnosed with postpartum depression, it's their first depressive episode. It's common to hear new moms say that it doesn't make sense that they're experiencing problems with mood and anxiety when things in their lives are going well. This confusion can fuel guilt and cause women to stay quiet about what they're going through, ultimately preventing them from getting help.

Having Postpartum Depression Doesn't Mean You're a Bad Mom

Depression and anxiety can make just getting through the day exhausting-emotionally and physically. Many women feel wracked with guilt when they have thoughts and feelings about their babies and motherhood that aren't happy ones. Postpartum depression is treatable, and with support you can feel better. Reaching out for help from family and friends, support groups, or seeking therapy is important. Postpartum depression doesn't usually just go away on it's own. Understanding what you're going through and that it isn't your fault is an important part of finding your way back to feeling more like yourself and living a healthy, happy life with your new baby.

If you or a mom in your life is struggling with the adjustment to motherhood, getting informed is a good first step to take.  To learn more, here are some good resources:

Postpartum Support International

www.postpartum.net

American Psychological Association

http://www.apa.org/pi/women/resources/reports/postpartum-depression.aspx

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety are treatable. Opening up a conversation about how you're feeling can be difficult, but remaining silent or trying keep up the appearance that everything is okay usually just prolongs the problem. The sooner you get help, the more quickly you'll find relief and get back to feeling more like yourself. If you'd like to learn more about how I can help, please contact me for a free phone consultation at (626) 808-5463 or hollyaevansmft@gmail.com