A common condition after giving birth to a baby is known as postpartum depression. This is described by the diagnostic book (DSM IV)  as a mood disorder – i.e. major depressive disorder –  specifying as “with postpartum onset”. However, there are a number of conditions that can occur pre / during / and post having a baby. Here is a list that can give a glimps of what hormones, a life changing event, and a predisposition can do to women who have babies.

The following list was identified as perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (by Postpartum Progress, Inc):

Postpartum Depression — If you have had a baby in the last year and are having eating or sleeping problems, a hard time concentrating or making decisions, problems bonding with your baby or enjoying motherhood, periods of anger or rage, sadness and crying, the constant feeling of being overwhelmed, or possible thoughts of harming yourself or running away and escaping, you might have postpartum depression. You don’t have to have all of these symptoms to have PPD, by the way.

Pregnancy Depression — If you have symptoms like the ones listed above for PPD but you are pregnant, you could have antenatal depression, also called pregnancy depression. This is just as common as PPD. Please know that you can be treated for depression during pregnancy, so don’t avoid calling your doctor out of fear that he or she can’t do anything to help you.

Postpartum Anxiety — Maybe you’re not feeling depressed, but instead very anxious. Postpartum anxiety symptoms include constant worries and fears. Maybe you can’t sleep or eat. Maybe you are worried all the time that something terrible is going to happen to you or someone you love. You could have postpartum anxiety.

Postpartum OCD — Postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder, or postpartum OCD, is a form of postpartum anxiety that has a symptom that is pretty hard to ignore: intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are scary “what if” thoughts that come into your head. You don’t want to have them, but they keep coming anyway. They may involve you harming someone you love, including your baby. You might also have compulsions, which means you feel the need to do things like clean, organize, check and recheck, or count. If you have postpartum OCD, you are not a danger to your child. This is a common illness, and you can get help for it.

Postpartum Panic Disorder – This is another form of postpartum anxiety that involves having panic attacks, which can include shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations and numbness or tingling in your arms or legs.  Some women having panic attacks often worry that they are having a heart attack or have come down with a serious disease.

Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — Moms with postpartum PTSD have often had a traumatic pregnancy or childbirth experience. Maybe you had hyperemesis or were put on bedrest. Perhaps you had an emergency c-section, or your baby had problems after birth or went to the NICU. These are all risk factors for postpartum PTSD. Symptoms can include nightmares and flashbacks.

Postpartum Psychosis — Women with postpartum psychosis, the most serious of all perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, may have delusions, hallucinations, paranoia or mania. What does that mean? You might be hearing or seeing things that no one else can see. You might be afraid that everyone is out to harm you or get rid of you. You might also have a much greater amount of energy than normal and feel like you don’t need sleep and can take on the world.

No matter which of these illnesses or symptoms you might be having, they are temporary and treatable with professional help. You do not have to live this way.  The most important thing is to get that help now. Don’t wait hoping that some day these symptoms will just go away on their own.

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