If you have a history of anxiety, depression, or other mood disorders, you’re at risk for developing mood and anxiety disorders during and after pregnancy.

Depression, Mood and Anxiety Disorders may be brought on or made worse by the hormonal changes and/or experiences of pregnancy and childbirth. Read on to learn the risk factors and symptoms of Perinatal Depression, Mood & Anxiety Disorders, and how to get help. Many times, screening for these disorders is not done during pregnancy, so women may not get the help they need until after they’ve had their baby. Asking for a screening during pregnancy and getting necessary treatment may help you have a happier, healthier pregnancy, and postpartum period with your new baby.

If, during your pregnancy, you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, ask your doctor to be screened for Perinatal Mood Disorders:

  • Anxiety or fearfulness.
  • Sadness, excessive crying or inability to laugh.
  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness or doubt.
  • Extreme agitation or tenseness.
  • Confusion or inability to make decisions.
  • Loss of desire to interact with others.

Why get screened during pregnancy?

  • Women with depression and other mood disorders during pregnancy have an increased risk for pre-term delivery, C-Section, and babies with a low birth weight. These babies are more likely to have health problems than full-term babies born vaginally.
  • Having Perinatal Mood Disorders during pregnancy make it likely that you will continue to have problems after pregnancy, and they could get worse.
  • Some women think there is nothing they can do to feel better. This is not true! There are many counselors, support groups, and even medications that are safe to use during pregnancy and while you’re breastfeeding, and you will feel better after getting help.
  • If you get help during pregnancy, it may make the postpartum period easier for you.

The difference between “Baby Blues” and Depression, Perinatal Mood & Anxiety

  • About 4 in 5 mothers experience the Baby Blues about a week after they give birth.
  • Baby Blues symptoms are mild mood swings (including moodiness, weepiness, anxiety, and feelings of dependence), and should be gone by 3 weeks postpartum.
  • Since the majority of mothers experience Baby Blues, it is not considered a disorder.
  • Perinatal Mood Disorders are more serious than Baby Blues. Symptoms are similar, but more excessive, and continue beyond the first few weeks after a woman gives birth.
  • If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms after pregnancy, tell your doctor. There is help available.