Frequently Asked Questions
What Makes Moms Feel This Way?
There are several possible reasons. The time after the birth of a child is a time of enormous change in a woman’s life – socially, psychologically and physically. These changes place many demands on the new mother and her family. New mothers may be tired and strained; taking care of a newborn is a very hard job. Post-partum distress is NOT a sign of weakness or inadequacy in the mother and symptoms are temporary when treated with skilled professional help and support.
What are the “Baby Blues”?
This is by far the most common form of emotional reaction in the post-partum period, affecting up to 70 percent of all new mothers. Symptoms include crying for no apparent reason, intolerance, irritability, restlessness and anxiety. These symptoms usually appear two to five days after delivery. The baby blues rarely last more than two to three weeks and usually disappear on their own. If the feelings persist, a woman may be experiencing postpartum depression.
What are the Symptoms of Post-Partum Depression?
Symptoms vary from mild to severe; one day may be “good” and others “bad.” Some signs are:
- Anxiety and panic
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Appetite and/or sleep disturbances
- Poor concentration with confusion and memory loss
- Overconcern for the baby or lack of interest in the baby
- Uncontrollable crying and irritability
- Feelings of guilt, inadequacy or inability to cope
- Fear of hurting the baby and/or herself
- Loss of interest in sex
Usually these symptoms begin within six weeks after delivery. However, they can emerge gradually and may take up to a year to be recognized as post-partum depression. Although all women don’t have the same symptoms, any symptoms can be scary and out of character for the woman experiencing them. Often women feel ashamed, guilty and isolated when having these feelings.
What is Post-Partum Psychosis?
This is an extremely rare disorder, occurring only in one out of 1,000 new mothers and usually within four weeks of delivery. Symptoms are severe and may include hallucinations, insomnia, agitation and bizarre feelings or behavior. Post-partum psychosis is a serious medical emergency requiring immediate medical help.
How to Get Help?
It is important to take concerns and questions to a physician or midwife or call the Behavioral Health Central Access Number for assistance. If you or someone you know is experiencing these feelings, we can help.
The Post-Partum Wellness Program was developed by Behavioral Health Services at Saint Clare’s to provide understanding, treatment and support for both moms and their families. The program offers these services:
- Crisis intervention
- Assessment, diagnosis and care planning by a team of highly skilled behavioral health professionals
- Education for women and their families
- Individual, family and group therapy, according to need
- Ongoing support groups for women with postpartum distress
For help, please call Behavioral Health Central Access at Saint Clare’s: 888 626-2111. A qualified counselor will assess your needs and link you to the Post-Partum Wellness team.