Maternal Mental Health Awareness

This May, National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health (NCMMH) is raising awareness of the number one complication of childbirth, a maternal mental health complication. With their #ConnectTheDots campaign they are bringing attention to pregnancy & postpartum depression, pregnancy & postpartum anxiety, bipolar disorders, post traumatic stress, OCD and postpartum psychosis.

It's not always depression. May 1-7 is Maternal Mental Health week and we want to take this time to talk about perinatal mood & anxiety disorders, how to spot them, and how to find help. 15-20% of pregnant and/or parenting women are impacted by postpartum depression and other perinatal mood & anxiety disorders. And 1 in 10 dads experience symptoms too.

Maternal Mental Health Facts - Maternal Mental Health Coalition

What are perinatal mood & anxiety disorders? Is it the same as baby blues?

Perinatal mood & anxiety disorders refers to a group of disorders that includes depression, anxiety, panic, psychosis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder, that occur during pregnancy or the postpartum period. It's #morethandepression AND women can also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder which should not be confused with postpartum depression.

These disorders are not the baby blues which generally last one to three weeks postpartum. Read this story for more on baby blues.

The wording used on many documents from physicians can feel overwhelming and confusing, and often equally as difficult for our partners and family members to navigate. Below is one helpful tool for understanding the signs and symptoms of perinatal mood & anxiety disorders without all the jargon.

The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety (in Plain Mama English)

Still not sure? Someone doesn't always look depressed or you may not realize the extent of her anxiety. This flyer can help partners #askher and begin a discussion, start to support each other, and get outside help. And remember that women who have experienced infertility and pregnancy loss may also be suffering.

Let's #connectthedots and ask how she's really doing.