1 in 7 pregnant and new mothers may experience depression or anxiety. New mothers may experience little sleep and new and increasing responsibilities that may cause stress and anxiety, all of which can lead to depression.
Postpartum depression is depression that occurs following pregnancy and delivery. It is one of the most common medical complications during the six months following childbirth and is associated with adverse outcomes for both mother and child.
Postpartum depressive symptoms include feeling sad, pessimistic or angry, crying more often, difficulty sleeping, feeling disconnected from the baby and worrying about hurting the baby. The primary risk factors for postpartum depression include previous depression, anxiety and mood disorders. Other risk factors include stress during pregnancy (including emotional, financial, partner-related or traumatic stress), traumatic birth experience, not breastfeeding, early cessation of breastfeeding or negative early breastfeeding experiences.
Symptoms of maternal depression during early infant development could lead to long-term problems for the child, such as impaired cognitive and language development, behavioral issues and poor sleep quality.
Asking for help
Therapy can be extremely helpful during the postpartum period. This avenue can help you cope with the major changes in your life when a new baby arrives. Learning to self soothe and have coping mechanisms when you feel overwhelmed can be a big step for success during postpartum.