Postpartum Anxiety

For many women, the postpartum period—or the year-long period that follows childbirth—is full of predictable stresses and lifestyle adjustments. For other women, though, this period can be filled with postpartum anxiety – the unexpected and unfounded feelings of fear, worry and anxiousness after having a baby. These feelings can easily begin to affect a mom’s quality of life and how she deals with her new baby. 

What is Postpartum Anxiety? 

This anxiety disorder occurs during the first year after childbirth.

About 10 percent of new mothers experience this ailment. It involves recurring and largely unfounded feelings of constant worry about the child’s well being or that something bad will happen. Having a new baby around is bound to provoke feelings of protectiveness and worry in parents—especially new parents.

However, when the anxiety of motherhood becomes a life-controlling condition, it is likely that this disorder is the culprit.

Types of Postpartum Anxiety Disorders

This disorder can take on several different forms. The most common are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and postpartum panic disorder. The way that these disorders manifest themselves differs quite a lot, but the core issue of anxiety is the same. 

Postpartum Anxiety Symptoms

Postpartum Generalized Anxiety Disorder - The symptoms of postpartum generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) involve constant worry or the impulse to prepare for something bad that the mother feels will happen—even if it is a very unlikely event. These feelings often cannot be rationalized away and become the center of mom’s everyday life. She will likely struggle with restlessness, fidgeting, trouble sleeping, and even a loss of appetite. She may feel as though her thought process is in a constant state of hyperactivity. It is not uncommon for generalized anxiety disorder to cause nausea, recurring dizziness, and even hot flashes. 

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - Postpartum OCD affects up to five percent of new mothers, however it is often overlooked. This disorder involves recurring thoughts (often negative, bizarre, or dangerous in nature) about the baby. No matter how hard mom tries, she probably is unsuccessful at preventing these thought from occurring. She may also feel compelled to do things repeatedly—such as washing her hands a certain number of times—or follow a specific routine in order to alleviate the stress and worries that she obsesses about. The mother may also be extremely protective of her child or fear being left alone with the baby. 

Postpartum Panic Disorder - Postpartum panic disorder often manifests itself in the form of panic attacks. A panic attack is an uncontrollable onset of fear that launches mom’s body into a frenzy of unexplainable panic. Her heart rate will increase, she may find it difficult to take a deep breath, and may suffer from a sudden onset of claustrophobia. Her hands, arms, feet, and legs may feel numb or tingle and she is likely to feel tightness in her chest. These symptoms are temporary but can exacerbate the feeling of panic because mom may fear that she is experiencing a heart attack. 

The Releasing Anxiety recordings can help you feel calm and serene, even during stressful times.

Postpartum Anxiety Treatment

It is important for mothers who suffer from postpartum anxiety to seek treatment. Many women who suffer from this condition find it difficult to enjoy having a new baby. Women who have suffered in silence during the postpartum period often experience a crushing realization that they spent their baby’s first precious year of life battling fear and worry instead of enjoying parenthood. 

Treatment for anxiety is often in the form of psychological therapy. Through this therapy, mom will be instructed in stress management techniques that she can utilize to induce calmness, such as breathing regulation and muscle relaxation. Although medication can be helpful in some cases, it is strongly recommended that mothers seek counseling and therapeutic techniques first, which are safe for both mom and baby without nasty side effects. Counseling and therapy are also more likely to provide permanent results.

Return from Postpartum Anxiety to Postpartum Living

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"No mother has to suffer from PPD needlessly. This is a fact. But until you know what you're up against, you'll still be trapped - without knowing why! A typical example is the common misconception that depression is "all just in the mind." Your first step is to keep an open mind; and allow Laura to take you by the hand and guide you step by step through the PPD universe. Using a "wellness" approach, and with her usual friendly and informative style, trust me, she can help you help yourself getting out of the rut - naturally - in no time."

- Naturopath Alex Leong, B.A.S.M.

“Laura realizes the interconnections between mind, body, and spirit and offers down-to-earth,  practical guidelines in harmonizing them.”

- Karen Szillat, Early Childhood Educator and Peace Advocate Author of Empowering The Children:  12 Universal Values Your Child Must Learn to Succeed In Life

“I wish I had had this valuable book after my baby was born.  Fantastic information!”

- Gigi Murfitt, Author of Caregiver’s Devotions To Go and My Message is C.L.E.A.R.

Being a new mom can be challenging, especially if you’re fighting PPD. Use a powerful tool - positive affirmations!

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"I just want to say in my capacity as pediatrician, teacher of pediatrics, and medical journalist, how very impressed I am by your website. I think your site is very thoughtful, not at all doctrinaire, and will be very valuable to mothers (and I think fathers, too in a second-hand sort of way) suffering from a variety of postpartum problems, of which the most common and perhaps the most serious is PPD. Anyway, thank you for your site, which I will certainly pass on to mothers in my practice."

Sydney Z. Spiesel, Ph DMD Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine

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Being a new mom can be challenging, especially if you’re fighting PPD. Use a powerful tool - positive affirmations!

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