OB ABCs

Month 6

month_06During your pregnancy, you knew your mood swings were due to hormonal fluctuations that occurred. So as your baby approaches his or her sixth month, why do you still experience mood swings or feelings of sadness? The answer is a common medical condition—perinatal mood disorder.

During your pregnancy, you knew your mood swings were due to hormonal fluctuations that occurred. So as your baby approaches his or her sixth month, why do you still experience mood swings or feelings of sadness? The answer is a common medical condition—perinatal mood disorder.

Also known as postpartum depression, this condition can occur at any point following the birth. While “baby blues” typically last a few days or weeks after birth, the onset of postpartum depression and anxiety can occur anytime within the first year after birth.

Symptoms include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, guilt or shame
  • Inability to take care of yourself or the baby
  • Intense feelings of anxiety or being overwhelmed
  • Irritability and anger
  • Lack of feelings for the baby
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Mood swings
  • Sadness and uncontrollable crying
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby

Perinatal mood disorder can be hard for a new mom to recognize—and even harder to admit. Many pass this condition off as the result of being tired or learning to care for a new infant. However, this condition does not make you an unfit mother or a bad person—it is a medically diagnosed condition that you can receive treatment for.

Who Can Help?

If your symptoms have lasted more than two weeks, make an appointment with your OB/GYN and discuss your symptoms. Your physician will ask you several questions about the kind and duration of your symptoms. You can also discuss treatment options, including counseling and medication. Support groups for new moms may be another outlet to consider—knowing you are not alone can go a long way in helping your feel better and enjoy life to the fullest.

 TIPS

  • A recent study found that approximately half of women felt the first six months after pregnancy were more difficult than they anticipated. If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to your partner or a loved one for support.
  • Did you know 80 percent of women experience the baby blues after their children are born?