Postpartum depression is a problem that we talk about a lot, but don’t talk about postpartum anxiety disorder quite as much. Many new mums struggle with this but they can’t quite work out what the problem is because they are not aware of it. If you are preparing for the arrival of your new baby, it’s important to understand what it is and how you can deal with it if you are affected.
What Is Postpartum Anxiety Disorder?
Postpartum anxiety disorder is a condition that affects around 10 percent of new mums. It has some similarities with postpartum depression but it is not as heavily associated with low mood. Instead, mums feel a sense of dread and often experience racing thoughts and constant worries.
It’s perfectly normal for new parents to feel worried about their child and their ability to look after them. But when those worries become irrational and start taking over every moment of the day, that’s when it develops into a serious anxiety disorder. For example, mums might worry that their baby will get hurt unless they are holding them at all times. When the problem gets particularly bad, it can lead to panic attacks.
Unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed because people are not as aware of it and they put their anxiety down to normal worries about being a parent.
How Can You Deal With Postpartum Anxiety Disorder?
There are a number of effective ways to deal with postpartum anxiety disorder. Feeling unprepared can often spark those feelings of anxiety in the first place, so taking steps to prepare yourself before the baby arrives can be a huge help.
If you have had issues with anxiety in the past or you have a family history of anxiety disorders, you have a higher risk of developing postpartum anxiety disorder, so you should be more vigilant.
Postpartum depression often goes away on its own, but this is less likely with an anxiety disorder, so you need to seek treatment if you are concerned. Taking anxiety treatment supplements on a daily basis can be a big help. You should also try to get into a positive routine and find time to relax where you can, although this is naturally difficult when you have a newborn to look after.
If things are getting on top of you, it’s important that you seek advice from a doctor. They will be able to prescribe medications to help you manage the symptoms of your anxiety. They will also direct you to talking therapies like CBT to help you deal with the underlying causes of anxiety.
You may also be referred to an expert who can teach you relaxation and mindfulness techniques like meditation and progressive muscle relaxation. These are great tools to have at your disposal if you ever feel anxious in the future.
Postpartum anxiety disorder is often called the hidden disorder because it goes undiagnosed. If you start feeling anxious after giving birth and it is starting to affect your daily life, you need to speak to a doctor right away.
Thanks for reading Jade x