Mood Changes and Moms Program

Mood Changes and Moms: Pregnancy and Postpartum Depression

Mood Changes and Moms: Pregnancy and Postpartum Depression
Moms may experience a wide range of mood changes throughout pregnancy and up to a year after delivery. These changes, called perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, or PMAD, range from occasional bouts of crying to ongoing depression and/or anxiety and may interfere with daily life.

Mothers experiencing PMAD may not tell anyone about it because they feel guilty or ashamed. But moms experiencing pregnancy - and postpartum-related mental and emotional changes need support - and so do their loved ones.

Lutheran Health Network’s Mood Changes and Moms program helps moms and family members recognize the symptoms of postpartum mood swings and address them before they become extreme. Mothers who receive help when symptoms first develop are better able to enjoy their pregnancy, delivery and baby. If left untreated, PMAD can have devastating long-term effects on mom, baby and the entire family.

Baby Blues
Eighty percent of mothers experience baby blues during the first few weeks after delivery.1 This mildest of mood changes can last up to two weeks and is caused by fluctuating hormones, parenting demands and/or sleep deprivation. Moms who continue to have difficulty more than two weeks after baby is born should seek help. Minor lifestyle-with-baby adjustments may be all that is needed.

Perinatal Mood Disorders
Ten to 20 of every 100 mothers have more severe mood issues during pregnancy or in the first year following delivery.1 Unfortunately, 80 percent of these moms suffer in silence instead of asking for support.

Symptoms of a perinatal mood disorder may include:

  • Depression, crying
  • Anxiety, worry
  • Obsessive compulsive behavior
  • Alarming thoughts
  • Post-traumatic stress

Psychosis
One or two of every 1,000 mothers will have postpartum psychosis.1 A mother with psychosis may harm herself or her baby. Seek medical attention immediately if any of the following symptoms are present,
even if they come and go over time:

  • Feeling unusual amounts of energy with little sleep
  • Continuously feeling “hyped up”
  • Being out of touch with reality
  • Hearing voices or seeing things that others cannot see

Support is the Key
PMAD can affect any woman, but it is treatable. The first step is to seek support from healthcare professionals who know how to help.

Source: 1 Bennett, PhD, Shohana and Pec Indman, EdD, MFT.

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