What is Postpartum Anxiety?

Postpartum Anxiety

Postpartum depression is really well known but postpartum anxiety isn’t talked about as much. So let’s break this down.

What is it + why does it happen?

As a new mom you may feel tense or anxious in the beginning because being responsible for a human life can be overwhelming. Yes, you also feel joy and love too, but when the anxious feelings start to be constant and it affects your sleep, your relationships and your ability to bond with your baby, then you may be experiencing postpartum anxiety.  

These symptoms can occur within a year of giving birth and could happen as a part of postpartum depression, or separately.

There is not one specific thing that causes postpartum anxiety, there are lots of things that can contribute to it.  As you know, hormone changes are occurring during and after pregnancy and that can obviously trigger mood and emotional changes.  Other factors might include lack of sleep, stress on your body (from childbirth or breastfeeding), lack of support system, history of anxiety, etc. 

The reason it happens is not as important as recognizing the signs and addressing it.


What are the signs of Postpartum Anxiety?

Postpartum anxiety typically includes a lot of worrying, about the baby and worrying in general.  

According to GoodRX Health, Besides nonstop, disruptive worries, you might have other feelings like:

  • Tenseness
  • Frustration
  • Guilt or self-blame
  • Fear of being left alone with baby

Postpartum anxiety can also cause physical symptoms, including:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Heart palpitations
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness and tingling

(Jones, Melody B. “How to Know When New Parent Worries Are Postpartum Anxiety (and When to Get Help)”. GoodRxHealth. September 14, 2022.https://www.goodrx.com/conditions/pregnancy/postpartum-anxiety)

These symptoms may not start immediately, they could happen later as your responsibilities change or increase, like when you start getting out of the house and socializing again, or when you go back to work.


What to do about it

Changing up your regular routine/daily activities can help with postpartum anxiety.  Things such as incorporating regular exercise, meditation, getting help with household chores so you can take more breaks, getting more sleep, or eating a healthy diet. 

Perinatal therapy can be helpful to address emotional/mental health challenges that arise before and after giving birth.  We discussed more about this specific therapy in a previous post HERE.

If making some of these changes doesn’t seem to help, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider to see if they recommend medication or some other type of treatment.  You want what is best for your baby and that is a healthy mom, so be honest with your loved ones and your doctor about what you are feeling so you can get the help you need. 

If you are experiencing postpartum anxiety and feel that it is time to reach out for help, contact us. 


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