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Symptoms of PMD

Postpartum Mood Disorders are the most common complication of childbearing.

  • Some Moms develop symptoms in pregnancy, which is sometimes called Antenatal Depression.
  • Sometimes these disorders are called Perinatal Mood Disorders, which means the symptoms start when the mom is pregnant or after the birth of the baby.
  • Moms who adopt a baby are also at risk of developing Post Adoption Depression.

Postpartum Mood Disorders include:

  • Postpartum Depression (PPD)
  • Postpartum Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Bi-polar II
  • Postpartum Psychosis

Signs and Symptoms

Baby Blues are very common and affect about 80% of new mothers. Blues include feeling sad, irritable, or overwhelmed. Mothers may be crying and may not be able to sleep or eat. Blues typically start about 3-4 days after the birth and gradually disappear in about 1 or 2 weeks. Blues do not need treatment, but Moms do need support, encouragement, and a helping hand.

If the blues do not disappear after 1-2 weeks or get worse, women may be experiencing a Postpartum Mood Disorder (PMD). It is important for moms to tell their doctor or health care practioner about symptoms.

Women with Postpartum Depression can have a variety of symptoms which usually last for at least 2 weeks. She may:

  • Be sad and tearful
  • Not feel herself
  • Feel exhausted, but unable to sleep
  • Have changes in her eating or sleeping patterns
  • Feel overwhelmed and unable to concentrate
  • Have no interest or pleasure in activities she used to enjoy
  • Feel hopeless, frustrated, restless, irritable or angry
  • Feel hopeless, frustrated, restless, irritable or angry
  • Not be bonding with her baby or feel afraid to be alone with your baby

Women with Postpartum Anxiety may have some of the symptoms of depression, but may also:

  • Feel high and full of energy
  • Experience heart palpitations, chest pain or dizziness
  • Experience heart palpitations, chest pain or dizziness
  • Be unable to sleep
  • Worry about losing control
  • Experience obsessions and compulsions: repetitive thoughts or actions (e.g. repeated and excessive handwashing), feeling driven to have things a certain way (e.g. insisting clothes/diapers are folded and put away in a certain way)
  • Take frequent trips to the doctor with concerns about the baby
  • Fear she will cause harm to the baby

If Moms experience the following at any time:

  • Repeated scary thoughts about the baby
  • Thoughts about harming herself or the baby

She should contact her health care provider immediately.

Postpartum Psychosis is very rare. Onset is usually 48-72 hours after the birth of the baby. Women usually experience delusions, hallucinations (e.g. seeing or hearing things that are not there), disorganized speech and behaviour or confusion. Women with Postpartum Psychosis often have thoughts about harming themselves or their baby. This is a serious illness with risks to the mother and baby and requires IMMEDIATE medical attention. Get help right away.

  • Call the doctor
  • Go to the local emergency department
  • Call the crisis intervention line: (Mobile Crisis of Peel -24 hours-905-278-9036)

Downloadable symptom checklist

It is not always easy to admit to feeling anxious or depressed.

There are many reasons that parents may not talk about their feelings. These include:

  • Not knowing that their symptoms are related to a mental illness,
  • Feeling embarrassed or guilty and worrying about the stigma surrounding mental illness,
  • Thinking that worries or fears won’t be understood by others,
  • Being afraid that others will think they are not good parents, and/or
  • Not knowing who to talk to or where to go for help.
  • Call the doctor
  • Call the doctor

It is OK to talk. Share your feelings with someone you trust.

If you are with a new parent , ask them how they are feeling and how they are adjusting to having a baby.

Fathers can also develop depression in the postpartum year. There is not as much information about fathers’ depression, but more research is being done in this area. For more information about risk factors and symptoms for paternal depression, see Men and Postnatal Depression from the PANDA website.