Does Postpartum Anxiety Start Right After Giving Birth?
Postpartum anxiety is a condition that causes extreme and excessive worrying after giving birth. Sometimes, your anxious feelings can completely take over and make you feel like you’re losing control or that you can’t overcome the fear you’re experiencing.
But it’s important to understand the difference between “normal” worry and anxiety. It’s not uncommon for new mothers to worry a little bit about their baby, their new lifestyle, or a variety of other things.
One of the best ways to determine if you’re dealing with postpartum anxiety is to consider when you had your baby. While this type of anxiety can absolutely occur immediately after giving birth, it can also occur at any time throughout your baby’s first year of life.
Let’s take a look at some of the common signs of postpartum anxiety. Even if you gave birth six months ago, understanding the signs and symptoms can help you realize what you might be dealing with.
What Causes Postpartum Anxiety?
There’s no one “cause” when it comes to postpartum anxiety. Some women experience it simply due to the hormonal changes that come with having a baby. Others might be at a greater risk of developing the condition thanks to issues like:
A family history of anxiety
Complications with the pregnancy
Not having a support system or partner
Having a baby with specific health issues
Keep in mind that things like a lack of sleep, the stress of caring for a little one, and even new feelings of responsibility that weren’t there before can all also contribute to this kind of anxiety.
What Are the Signs?
Postpartum anxiety impacts new mothers in a variety of ways. You might experience extreme fear or worry about your own well-being, or you might be worried about the health and wellness of your baby. That constant state of worry can cause physical, emotional, and even behavioral symptoms. While the following symptoms aren’t exhaustive, you might experience some of them while dealing with postpartum anxiety:
Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
Feeling constantly “on edge”
Being overly cautious
Feeling the need to control everything
Unfortunately, there isn’t a single diagnostic tool associated with postpartum anxiety. You’ll likely be asked a series of questions by your doctor to determine there isn’t a medical issue and to give them a clearer picture of how you’re feeling.
How to Treat Postpartum Anxiety
Don’t assume that you couldn’t be experiencing the mental health effects just because you had a baby months ago. If you’re worried you’re dealing with postpartum anxiety up to a year after giving birth, help is available. Treatment can vary depending on the severity of your anxiety. Some women can benefit from anti-anxiety medications, but you might not want to go that route for a variety of reasons, including some of the potential side effects.
Therapy is often an effective way to treat postpartum anxiety. Working with a therapist will help you uncover the root cause of your anxiety. That’s not always an easy step, but it’s one of the best ways to better understand your feelings and symptoms. Once you dig beneath the surface to discover what’s causing your postpartum anxiety, you can start to work on your symptoms and eventually overcome those feelings of fear with the help of a professional.
Postpartum anxiety can start right after giving birth. However, it could start to creep up at any time throughout your baby’s first year of life. Keep that in mind if you’re showing any signs or symptoms at any point after your little one is born. If they become too difficult to manage, please don’t hesitate to set up an appointment.
Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is also Certified as a Perinatal Mental Health Professional by Postpartum Support International. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New Jersey , New York, and Pennsylvania via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.