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Many women experience emotional complications during pregnancy, following a miscarriage or termination of pregnancy. 1 in 7 pregnant and new mothers will experience a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder.



Baby blues is experienced by up to 80% of new mothers. Symptoms may include:

  • Crying

  • Impatience

  • Sleeplessness

  • Irritability

  • Restlessness

  • Anxiety

Symptoms occur in the first weeks, are unpleasant but brief, and usually disappear on their own within 2 weeks postpartum.


Postpartum depression is experienced by 1 of 7 new mothersSymptoms may include:

  • Frequent sadness or crying

  • Changes in appetite

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia

  • Intense fatigue with low mood

  • Emotional numbness

  • Feelings of helplessness and despair

  • Irritability, surges of anger

  • Feelings of inadequacy, guilt or shame

  • Difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness

  • Frightening feelings

  • Anxiety/panic

  • Repetitive fears, thoughts or images

  • Overconcern for your baby

  • Lack of interest in sex

  • Lack of feelings for your baby

  • Dramatic changes in your feelings ranging from sadness to thoughts of suicide

Symptoms can occur within days of the delivery or appear gradually within the first year.


Some women may not feel depressed, but may feel very anxious. This is known as Postpartum Anxiety and/or Panic Disorder. Symptoms may include:

  • Intense anxiety and/or fear

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Sense of doom

  • Hot or cold flashes

  • Chest pain

  • Shaking

  • Dizziness

  • Insomnia

Symptoms can occur suddenly within days of the delivery or appear gradually within the first year.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can occur for the first time in women following childbirth. If a woman has a history of OCD, her symptoms may intensify. Symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Repetitive behavior

  • Excessive cleaning

  • Intrusive, repetitive thoughts (possibly even thoughts of harming the baby and/or self)

  • Avoiding the baby and/or other people, along with negative stimuli such as intense or scary movies, news or stories, to alleviate intrusive thoughts.

These thoughts are often scary and are usually out of character for the woman. A woman having thoughts of hurting the baby is very unlikely to follow through as they are only thoughts and not urges or desires.

Symptoms can occur 1 week to 3 months postpartum or during pregnancy. Can occur after weaning baby or when menstrual cycle begins.


Postpartum psychosis is the most severe. The clinical onset is rapid with symptoms occurring as early as the first 48 to 72 hours postpartum. It occurs in about 1-2 in 1000 women, usually the majority of episodes develop within the first two weeks after delivery. Women experience a break with reality. Symptoms may include:

  • Hallucinations

  • Severe insomnia

  • Fearful or paranoid

  • Agitation

  • Bizarre feelings and behavior

Postpartum psychosis is a serious emergency and requires immediate medical help. There is a 5% infanticide or suicide rate associated with postpartum psychosis.

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