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Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs)

Image: Mikyung Lee

I’ll bet you’re thinking, wait, isn’t that just Postpartum Depression? Although Postpartum Depression falls into the category of PMADs, it’s not just Depression that parents experience. There are many faces of PMADs, including feelings of depression anxiety, panic, Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and psychosis. It is important as well, to know that there is a difference between PMADs and the “baby blues.” The “baby blues” is a 2-3 week period in which the birthing parent may experience mood swings and tearfulness, and it may be considered a normal adjustment period. When discussing PMADs, we are looking at mood changes not only during pregnancy or right after birth, but following the first year after the baby is born.

It may not always be easy to recognize PMADs for several reasons. Parents often feel like “Well this is just our life now,” or “I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m struggling.” This is where therapeutic services can be most beneficial so that you and your therapist can work through these feelings to understand the root cause and identify any additional supports and resources that may be available to you.

Working with a Certified Perinatal Mental Health Provider (PMH-C) will give you the best support in managing perinatal and postpartum mood changes, as they have been trained to address the specific needs of parents. You may also read additional information on PMADs through Postpartum Support International (PSI). For additional support, you may also call the PSI Hotline at 1-800-944-4773 (#1 En Español or #2 for English).

Sarah Schadewald is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Perinatal Mental Health Certified provider offering counseling services for individuals, couples, and families at Cypress Wellness Center. She began her career in Community Mental Health and develop an understanding of how much recovery is a community effort. She specializes in managing mood during emotional challenges related to fertility, mood and behavioral changes during pregnancy and during the postpartum period for both parents, as well as providing support for general adjustment difficulties and community resources.

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