Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD)

One in 7 women experiences Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD), formerly referred to as postpartum depression. If you feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster after giving birth, you’re not alone. Did you know having a birth doula may decrease your risk of developing postpartum depression. Baptist Health offers a free virtual postpartum support group for new moms. Baptist Health Postpartum Support Group

What is PMAD?

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder encompasses a spectrum of emotional and psychological challenges that women may face during pregnancy and the postpartum period. These disorders include postpartum depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and, in rare cases, postpartum psychosis. PMAD is distinguished from the “baby blues,” which typically last for a few days to two weeks post-birth and involve mild mood swings, irritability, and tearfulness. PMAD, however, is more intense and persistent, potentially lasting for months if untreated, and can significantly impair a mother’s ability to function and care for her baby.

The prevalence of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder is significant. It affects approximately 15-20% of new mothers, though the rates can be higher in certain populations. Factors contributing to PMAD include hormonal changes, previous mental health issues, a history of trauma, lack of support, and stressful life events. Symptoms often involve feelings of overwhelming sadness, anxiety, irritability, and guilt. Physical symptoms like fatigue and changes in sleep or appetite, may also be a factor. These conditions not only affect the mother’s well-being. They also have potential implications for the baby’s development and the overall family dynamic.

Treatments for PMAD are multi-faceted, typically involving a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and support groups. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT) are particularly effective in addressing the negative thought patterns and relationship issues associated with PMAD. Antidepressants may also be prescribed, particularly in cases where symptoms are severe. Additionally, support from family, friends, and healthcare providers plays a crucial role in recovery. Increasing awareness and understanding of PMAD among new mothers and their support networks can lead to earlier detection and more effective management, helping to ensure healthier outcomes for both mother and child.

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