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Your Emotional Health After Pregnancy


Pregnancy is a time of wonder, joy and yes, life-altering changes. When you are pregnant, an intense bond occurs between mother and child from within the womb, and when this bond comes to fruition it can be an overwhelming time. This article will explore what it can be like for a new mother once their child has been born. Dealing with emotional health and overcoming common difficulties after birth is not only important for the relationship of the infant and mother, but managing the inner fears and turmoil will make for a healthy, well- rounded mother/baby bond.

New mothers need to keep in mind that what you are feeling is completely normal! From baby blues to postpartum psychosis, others have been there.  There are ways to cope and become a healthy, happy mother.

Common Postpartum Mood Disorders

  • Baby Blues
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Postpartum Panic Disorder
  • Postpartum Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder

Baby Blues

Baby blues are very common; 75-80% of new mothers get the baby blues. This generally happens during the first two weeks after giving birth. The symptoms include:

  • Heightened irritability
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Heightened emotions

If these feelings of depression last past the two-week mark, it could be a sign of postpartum depression. Before things get any worse you should:

  • Use your support system
  • Talk to your partner, your family, and try to meditate and focus on the positive
  • Exercise is great for this! Whether it be simply taking long walks or doing yoga, the repetition is great for relieving stress.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression occurs in 10-20% of new mothers; it is often hard to distinguish  postpartum depression from other forms of depression. If after two weeks, you are still experiencing the following symptoms, it is probably postpartum depression:

  • Depressed or sad mood
  • Tearfulness
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feelings of worthlessness or incompetence
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Change in appetite
  • Poor concentration
  • Suicidal thoughts

Do not panic, if you are still experiencing some or all of these symptoms two weeks after giving birth, this is very common and discussing it with your physician is the first step towards emotional health. Individual/couples therapy, assistance with childcare, and communication with your partner are some of the recommendations your doctor might give you in order to create an environment of openness and understanding that will help you to cope.

Postpartum Panic Disorder

Preparing to have a baby and actually having a baby, as all mothers learn, are two very different things. Going from pregnancy to holding a child in your arms can be a difficult, though wonderfully rewarding transition. It is understandable that this contrast could create panic in new mothers who are trying to conform to a new set of responsibilities. In fact, 10% of new mothers struggle with extreme anxiety after having given birth. The following can be symptoms of postpartum panic disorder:

  • Feelings of extreme anxiety
  • Recurring panic attacks
  • Agitation
  • Excessive worry or fears

What You Can Do

As mentioned before, anxiety is something plenty of pregnant women experience. There are many things you can do to alleviate some of this anxiety. Meditation, talk therapy (individual/couples), scheduling/organizing your day, surrounding yourself with positivity and creating a mantra aimed towards a healthy outlook.

One thing new mothers need to remember is: you’re not alone, and not only are these feelings common, they are treatable. Though some of the disorders above can be self-remedied by the individual, consulting your physician can be crucial to the healing process, if you find yourself getting worse. Medication and therapy can be very helpful in certain circumstances (as is recommended when dealing with postpartum depression or postpartum panic disorder), and no one circumstance is identical to the other. In the end, it’s all about doing everything possible to make sure the mother has a healthy, positive outlook on her future as a parent.


  1. Web MD” Postpartum: First 6 Weeks After Childbirth- Coping With Emotions:  Accessed July 18, 2015
  2. MGH Center For Women’s Mental Health: Postpartum Psychaitric Disorders: Accessed July 2015.
  3. Baby Center: Your Postpartum Health:  Accessed July 25, 2015.

Photo Credit: thevelvetbird via Compfight cc

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Chantarat Suratanakavikul, M.D. Summary: Obstetrics And Gynaecology Maternal And Fetal Medicine