Expecting or New mother - What is a Postpartum Mood Disorder (PPMD)

What is a Postpartum Mood Disorder (PPMD)?
Could I have PPMD?
Common feelings and fears of women with PPMD
PPMD Stories - New!
What you can do to feel better
Resources

 


What is a Postpartum Mood Disorder [Also see, PPMD brochure]

Postpartum Blues [Complete list of symptoms of Postpartum Blues]

Having a baby can be a wonderful experience, but life with a new baby is not always what you expect. Pregnancy and the period following birth bring physical, emotional and social changes. Adjustments to the new roles and relationships are not always easy. 80% of new moms experience the "Baby Blues". Symptoms include sadness, crying spells, poor concentration, and irritability. Postpartum blues usually start within three days of giving birth and can last up to 14 days. Taking care of yourself and getting support will help you to feel better. These feelings usually go away without treatment.

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Postpartum Mood Disorders [Complete list of Postpartum Mood Disorder symptoms]

More serious adjustment difficulties are Postpartum Mood Disorders - mental health difficulties that affect many new moms within the first year of having a baby. Some of these are postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Up to 20 % of women experience postpartum mood disorders after the birth of a child, a stillbirth or a miscarriage. Men can also experience emotional difficulty, especially if their partner is depressed.

Symptoms may begin during pregnancy and last into the postpartum period. For a complete list of symptoms, click here. If symptoms last longer than 2 weeks or are severe enough to interfere with your daily routine, it is time to seek help.

PPMD Symptoms
If you or someone you care about has any of these symptoms, get help, call or visit:

  • Your healthcare provider (family physician, midwife, nurse, OB/GYN, psychiatrist)
  • Your local Public Health Agency: Service Ontario 211 www.serviceontario.ca
    Telehealth: 1 866 797 0000 or TTY 1 866 797 0007
  • Mental Health Helpline: www.mhsio.on.ca or 1 866 531 2600
     
    Life with a baby www.lifewithababy.com is a non-profit group of mothers available in some communities of Ontario and online that help mothers  connect with other one another for emotional and practical support. They offer events and programs such as play dates, time out for mom and family outings.

 

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Postpartum psychosis [Complete list of symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis]

Postpartum Psychosis is the most severe and, fortunately, least common postpartum disorder. It occurs in about 1 to 2 out of 1000 women who give birth. Onset is sudden and usually occurs within the first 2-3 weeks. It is a medical emergency and often requires hospitalization and medication. If a new mother is psychotic she may experience the following symptoms.

Thinking and possibly planning of harming self or baby
Hearing or seeing things that are not there (hallucinations)
Believing people or things are going to harm her or the baby (paranoia)
Feeling confused and out of touch with reality (includes delusions)

If you or someone you care about has any of these symptoms, get help NOW

Your healthcare provider (family physician, midwife, nurse, OB/GYN, psychiatrist)
Your local hospital's emergency department
Your local crisis intervention line

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Common feelings and fears of women with PPMD

Many women have unrealistic expectations as our society portrays idealized images of motherhood - TV commercials, books, and even parenting magazines depict mothers as selfless, happy, tireless, organized, keeping a perfectly neat house, and having a dinner ready for their hard working husbands. Mothers believe that giving birth, caring and bonding with a baby is a natural and fulfilling experience. When comparing themselves to these images women inevitably fall short and begin to think that they are bad mothers and that their feelings of anger, irritation, and fear are abnormal. This in turn leads to guilt, shame and isolation that, if unchecked, can spiral out of control. These are the things mothers often feel.

Guilt, thinking they are not a good enough mother
Anger and irritation
Shame for feeling and thinking the way they are
Thinking that they are the only ones feeling that way
Thinking that no one will understand
Fear of leaving the baby or of being with the baby
Fear of having the baby taken away by children's services
Fear of losing their identity

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PPMD Symptoms
If you or someone you care about has any of these symptoms, get help, call or visit:

  • Your healthcare provider (family physician, midwife, nurse, OB/GYN, psychiatrist)

  • Your local Public Health Agency: Service Ontario 211 www.serviceontario.ca
    Telehealth: 1 866 797 0000 or TTY 1 866 797 0007

  • Mental Health Helpline: www.mhsio.on.ca or 1 866 531 2600

  • Life with a baby www.lifewithababy.com is a non-profit group of mothers available in some communities of Ontario and online that help mothers  connect with other one another for emotional and practical support. They offer events and programs such as play dates, time out for mom and family outings.

 

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This website has been prepared with funds provided by the Government of Ontario. The information herein reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of Ontario. Resources, websites and services mentioned are not necessarily approved or endorsed by the Ontario Government or the Best Start Resource Centre, Health Nexus.


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