Emotional Well-Being During Pregnancy and Post-Birth

 

For many women and couples, pregnancy and birth are a time of excitement and joy.  But for up to 20% of new mothers it is a time of disconnection and stress.  If this is your first pregnancy or child you may wonder why your experience doesn't sound like your best friend or sister's experience.  Perhaps this is your 2nd or 3rd time and it isn't the same as before.   Within a safe, non-judgmental environment I offer assessment and therapy for women experiencing perinatal depression, anxiety or ocd.  

 

Signs and Symptoms:

Pregnancy - For many women it is difficult to differentiate between symptoms of pregnancy such as lethargy, worry, trouble sleeping and symptoms of depression or anxiety.  You may feel like something just isn't "right" or you recognize the symptoms from a previous pregnancy .   Undiagnosed or untreated depression/anxiety during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight and over-activation of the fight or flight response in infants. I offer a safe, non-judgemental place to evaluate your symptoms and provide assessment.  We will explore how best to support you during pregnancy and post-birth.  

 

Baby Blues - Approximately 60-80% of women experience what is termed "baby blues".  Symptoms include crying, feeling inadequate and overwhelmed.  It usually peaks 3-5 days after delivery and lasts no more than 2 days to 2 weeks. I want to acknowledge that although this is common, it can feel overwhelming and stressful!  

 

Post-Partum Depression -  Approximately 21% of women experience depression.  Symptoms include fatigue, guilt, feelings of ovewhelming responsibility, loss of joy or pleasure, feelings of worthlessness and can include a hypervigelence for the needs of the baby or lack of interest.  As we identify various types of support, you will gain a greater understanding about your symptoms and the connection between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors so you gain relief from your symptoms .

 

Post-Partum Anxiety - This affects 10% of women and may include the following symptoms:  feeling keyed up, insomnia, inability to sit still, being on high alert, constant worry and racing thoughts. Women often describe wanting to "runaway" as well as panic symptoms.  

 

Post Partum OCD - Up to 9% of new mothers develop symptoms of obsessive compulsive symptoms.  Individuals experiencing these symptoms may experience feelings of guilt and shame due to repetitive or intrusive thoughts.  These thoughts often include imagining scenarios in which your baby is hurt or injured.  This does not mean you will harm your baby, it indicates a protective mothering system that is working on overdrive!  As with anxiety, we will identify these thoughts and work to calm your nervous system so you can feel more relaxed and confident.

 

Post-Partum Psychosis - is experienced by less than 1% of new mothers.  Although rare, if you are experiencing delusions, hallucinations or thoughts about harming your baby, please seek immediate medical attention.

 

Trauma - For individuals who have experienced trauma such as childhood abuse, traumatic birth or you are a victim of violence;  pregnancy and birth can feel overwhelming and trigger feelings of guilt, loss and anger.  Traumatic experiences are often confusing and can include flashbacks, dissociation, and distress at exposure to cues that resemble the traumatic event. In addition to healing from post partum depression, anxiety or ocd,, I utilize evidenced based approach to concurrently treat trauma such as EMDR, imaginal work, and cognitive based therapy.