Before and after giving birth can be a highly distressing period for a woman. Within this time frame, also called the perinatal stage, she’ll have to undergo several changes to test her mental and psychological resilience.
That said, mental health issues should be addressed proactively. Receiving perinatal mental health support is extremely important because it can impact the mother and child’s lives and even those around them. The perinatal period refers to one year before and up to two years after a child’s birth.
Moreover, research has discovered that up to 21% of American women develop an anxiety disorder during the perinatal and postpartum stages. Another study found that 75% of those who develop postpartum anxiety also showed signs of depression.
It can be easy to overlook anxiety in pregnancy. If left unaddressed, the issue may later lead to severe mental health issues. Thus, an expectant or new mother must know how to develop coping mechanisms for anxiety. Learning about anxiety is a good start. In this blog, you’ll discover what anxiety is, its symptoms and how to cope.
Understanding Perinatal Anxiety
Anxiety is defined as excessive feelings of nervousness, worry or fear. This condition often affects the brain and the person’s physiological processes. It interferes with their normal functions.
Besides interrupting a person’s disposition and daily activities, perinatal anxiety can also impact mother and child communication. Experts stress the importance of the perinatal stage, where parent-infant bonding must be strengthened to reduce the risks of neurodevelopmental dysfunction. Research has suggested that up to 10.5% of women develop anxiety during pregnancy, and another 10.8% may have it postpartum or after childbirth.
Because a woman may experience distress at any stage of childbirth, experts often use the umbrella term perinatal or postpartum mood and anxiety disorder or PMAD. Perinatal anxiety can range from mild to severe. Thus, if you think you or someone you know might have it, visit website and read on for suggestions on how to cope or seek professional help.
While it’s normal for expectant or new mothers to experience fear and worry about their child, persons with perinatal anxiety will have recurrent, illogical, uncontrollable and highly disrupting thoughts or worries. They may have severe concerns about the infant’s or their family’s health or death, a sense of doom and irrational fears about anything and everything.
Physically, anxiety may manifest through the following:
feeling restless and panicky
How Long Do These Symptoms Last?
Excessive anxiety may last for at least six months in general anxiety disorders. There’s no timeframe set for pregnancy-induced anxiety. Some researchers suggest a woman who experiences the aforementioned symptoms for at least one month may likely have the condition. Perinatal anxiety typically manifests up to three months following childbirth but can also happen at any time during the perinatal stage.
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