© 2017 by MotherEmpoweringMothers. 

  • Instagram
  • Facebook Social Icon

Perinatal mood disorders can look different in each individual. While it's normal to feel a bit sad or weepy after birth, it's not normal to feel this way for an extended period of time. Symptoms you may experience can range from anger, sadness, guilt, lack of interest in your baby, changes in eating habits, trouble concentrating, thoughts of hopelessness, rage, thoughts of harming yourself, or your baby. The more we know the better we do. Below you will find an overview of the most common symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms please reach out for medical help. In some instances of woman can experience episodes of postpartum psychosis. This is a rare psychiatric emergency which can include hallucinations, racing thoughts, and confusion. If you or someone you know may be experiencing an episode of psychosis please call 911 and get help immediately. 

Baby Blues

Approximately 75-80% of new mothers experience some form of mood swings after birth. Most women experience a noticeable change in mood around day 5 after birth. Symptoms include;

  • Weepiness or crying 

  • Impatience

  • Irritability 

  • Restlessness

  • Anxiety

  • Mood changes

  • Poor concentration

Postpartum Depression

1 in 5 women in Saskatchewan experience postpartum depression. This number is higher from women in poverty and in teen mothers. Symptoms can start during pregnancy and last for 1-2 years after the birth of your child. 

  • Rage and Irritability

  • Lack of interest in your baby

  • Appetite and sleep disturbances

  • Crying and sadness

  • Feeling of guilt, shame, or hoplessness

  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy

  • Thoughts of harming yourself or baby

Bipolar Mood Disorder

There are two phases of a bipolar mood disorder: the highs and the lows. Many women are diagnosed for the first time in pregnancy or postpartum. Criteria for bipolar mood disorder are symptoms lasting longer then 4 days and interfere with relationships. Sometimes person with severe episodes of mania or depression can have psychotic symptoms too. These symptoms present a high risk and must be treated immediately. If you or someone you know if experiencing a psychotic episode call 911.

  • Periods of severely depressed mood or irritability 

  • Rapid Speech

  • Little need for sleep

  • Racing thoughts, trouble concentrating 

  • Continuous high energy 

  • Paranoia 

  • Impulsive behavior, poor judgement 

  • Periods where mood is greatly improved 

Postpartum OCD

Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed of all the perinatal disorders.An estimated 3-5% of new mothers and fathers will experience these symptoms. The repetitive, intrusive thoughts and images are frightening and can feel like they come out of the blue. Research shows us these images are anxious in nature, NOT delusional, and have very low risk of being acted upon.

  • Obsessions. Include intrusive thoughts, that are often repetitive and persistent in nature. These thoughts are often upsetting, and not something the woman has ever experienced before. 

  •  Repetitive tendencies (checking the stove to make sure its turned off over and over, counting, rearranging items)

  • Sense of horror about the thoughts

  • Fear of being left alone with your infant

  • Hyper vigilance in protecting your infant

  • Moms are aware these thoughts are bizarre

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum Psychosis is a rare illness. It occurs in approximately 2 out of every 1000 deliveries, or 1-2% of births. The onset is sudden and usually in the first 2 weeks postpartum. 

  • Delusions or strange beliefs 

  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there)

  • Feelings of rage and irritation

  • Decreased need or inability to sleep

  • Paranoia or suspiciousness

  • Rapid mood swings

  • Difficulty communicating