How Can You Deal with Postpartum Anxiety?

October 9, 2019
Learn to identify postpartum anxiety and manage it in a healthy way.

Postpartum anxiety and depression are conditions that often overwhelm many women around the world. This is because worry and stress reach such high levels that they end up causing more serious conditions. So, it’s really important to know what’s “normal” and what isn’t at this stage of the mother’s life.

We’ll begin by saying that there are many worries and concerns in a mother’s day-to-day life that are quite normal and temporary. When these problems are resolved then they’ll stop causing the mother distress. However, when the mother’s suffering from postpartum anxiety, then the worry and anxiety continue even when the situation has been resolved.

In these cases, anxiety can change the mother’s perception of reality on a continual basis. This is when you’ll need immediate assistance from a medical professional, and they’ll suggest measures to help prevent the mother’s daily life from being too stressful for her and her baby.

Postpartum anxiety (not the same as postpartum depression) affects between 50 and 80% of new mothers. Symptoms can appear at any time. It usually occurs due to sudden hormonal changes that affect the mother, as well as the stress she feels for the responsibility of having a baby who is completely dependent on her.

–Maternal and Infant Care Clinic–

How Can You Deal with Postpartum Anxiety?

Symptoms of postpartum anxiety

Typically, symptoms occur between the first two weeks and a year after giving birth. There may be a variety of symptoms including::

  • Difficulty focusing on different activities
  • A fear of leaving the house, alone or with the baby
  • Irritability, anger, and impulsive reactions
  • Permanent fear regarding the baby’s health and safety
  • Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, respiratory problems, muscle tension and diarrhea
  • Difficulty falling asleep and poor appetite
  • Constant thoughts that something terrible will happen
  • Permanent fatigue due to lack of rest

What can you do if you get postpartum anxiety?

  • It’s essential for the mother to get enough rest while the baby is sleeping, because a lack of sleep can affect her physical and mental health.
  • Another important aspect is to inform the family and close relatives about the situation. This way they can help throughout the process and help to dissipate unfounded fears.
  • A mother with postpartum anxiety should avoid asking for too much advice. When it comes to raising a baby, there are as many opinions as mothers! This will just confuse her, as she won’t know which advice to pay attention to.
  • It’s advisable to limit contact with people who always seem to make a stressful situation worse. Everyone will want to say what’s best for the baby, but the mother’s instinct is the best guide of all.
  • Setting aside time to relax and recharge the batteries is essential. Although there’ll never be much free time, you’ll need to try to spend a few minutes relaxing and making sure you’re eating properly.
  • You should avoid caffeine drinks, nicotine and alcohol. These stimulants can affect your nervous system and worsen the stress and anxiety.
  • It’s a good idea to look for strategies that bring you calm. This could be doing exercise, playing a board game, listening to music, or taking a walk. This will deactivate the emergency signals that anxiety sends around your body and will make you feel calmer.
  • Finally, try to avoid situations that you know will trigger anxiety. Violent TV shows are a definite no-no, nor is it a good idea to watch all the bad news stories that fill our screens. This will cause unease and stress to rise in our bodies.
How Can You Deal with Postpartum Anxiety?

And finally…

If you’re a mother and can identify with these symptoms personally, or if you know someone who may be suffering from postpartum anxiety, then we’d like to remind you that there are organizations that specialize in treating this condition. Some of them are available to provide 24/7 care and answer all the questions you may have about becoming a mother. If you have any questions, you can consult them.

Although it’s sometimes difficult to face such a great responsibility – a life that depends entirely on you – keep in mind that you’re not alone and that there are many resources at your disposal.

  • Heron J., O’Connor T.G., Golding J., Glover V., The ALSPAC Study Team. The course of anxiety and depression through pregnancy and the postpartum in a community sample, J. Affect Disorders 2004; 80(1): 65-73.