The signs to look out for when it comes to birth-related depression and anxiety

Posted at 6:46 AM, May 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 07:39:48-04

(WXYZ) — I want to shine a light on a serious condition that's affecting far more people than any of us even realize. Birth-related depression and anxiety.

It's more than just the "baby blues." Birth mothers have a 1-in-5 chance of experiencing depression and anxiety during pregnancy and the year after birth. Their partners have a 1-in-10 chance of depression and anxiety.

Symptoms include all of the problems commonly associated with depression, but can also include frequent tearfulness, little interest in or sense of bonding with the baby, excessive anxiety about the baby,and fear of self-harm or harming the baby.

I spoke with Sarah Gilbertson, a certified nurse midwife with Henry Ford Health.

She tells me untreated depression can impact the health of mom and baby during pregnancy and beyond, including low birth weight, substance use during pregnancy, early birth, preeclampsia and high blood pressure.

After delivery, it can affect a mother's ability to bond with the baby.

Gilbertson said she sees a lot of parents seeking help with their second children.

"Because they didn't seek help during their first pregnancy or postpartum period, and it was a traumatizing and miserable experience for them," she said.

Gilbertson also tells me talk therapy and medication can help, but she says you may be able to avoid or limit perinatal mood disorders with self care and adequate sleep.

"Coming up with a sleep hygiene routine, helping you get ready for bedtime, taking walks, getting sunlight, breathing, and eating healthy, those things are all just as important as talking to a specialist.

Here's the bottom line. If you're asking yourself if you need help, get help. That can be from a family, therapist, and in case of an emergency, the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 988.

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