Having a baby comes in handy with many emotional and physical changes. Even if you have given birth to other children in the past, these changes are bound to happen. It will take you quite some time to go back to your regular life. Within the first few months after giving birth, it is very typical for you to develop a wide range of emotions, both negative and positive.
However, the anxiety in some cases go overboard, and you do not know whether it is normal, or it is a sign of a severe problem. Research suggests that at least one in seven women who have given birth will experience postnatal anxiety every year. The good news is that this is a condition that you can easily get help, and there is also a broad range of self-help methods you can use to eliminate the situation, most of which will be discussed later in the article.
What are the typical signs of postnatal anxiety?
The signs of postnatal anxiety develop so gradually, such that most parents assume them as part of the motherhood package.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, know from the onset that you are not suffering from the usual after-birth anxiety, and you need to see your doctor as soon as now.
- Consistently feeling sad and becoming moody
- Losing interest in the world around you, and finding no solace in the fun activities you used to take part in the past
- Feeling tired every time, and lacking the energy to carry on with your day to day activities
- Feeling sleepy during the day, and lacking sleep during the night
- Having a strong feeling that you cannot take good care of your baby
- An increased or loss of appetite (it can go either way depending on your body)
- Feeling irritable, apathetic, and highly agitated. You feel uncomfortable and angry when bothered even by your loved ones
- Worrying about different things
- Being over-protective to your baby, due to the belief that bad things might happen to him/her
- Rapid breathing, dizziness, and racing heartbeat
- Pain, trembling, or tension in your muscles
- Sweating excessively
- Tingling or numb feeling in your toes, fingers, or lips.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is most likely that you are suffering from postnatal anxiety. These symptoms will affect how you live your normal life. Sometimes, you will have a very strong belief that something bad is going to happen to your baby; thus you will avoid taking him out. At other times, you will find yourself following strict guidelines on how to take good care of your child, and when you can’t achieve them, you will often feel distressed.It is crucial to see your doctor when you experience these anxiety symptoms so that he can confirm the condition and put you under the right treatment. Failing to do this will make you develop the symptoms of postnatal anxiety and depression at the same time. This might make you think that you are not in a position to take care of your baby, and the probability of you harming your body or committing suicide are very high. Find out more about East Melbourne Obstetrics and Gynaecology if you are after highly experienced doctors around the city.
Causes of postnatal anxiety
Researchers have determined that there is no single cause of postnatal anxiety. Nevertheless, some factors can explain why you are suffering from this little-known condition.
- You have had anxiety or depression in the past
- Social isolation
- Traumatic birth or a complicated pregnancy
- Having difficult settling or feeding your baby
- Having previously lost a baby through death or miscarriage
- Current or past sexual, psychological, or physical abuse
- Life stressors such as problematic relationships, family problems, money, and more
- A family history of mental illness
- Having a sick or premature baby
- Poor relationship with your parents
PS: the amount of time you will experience anxiety after birth depends whether or not you have experienced anxiety before birth or not.
Can postnatal anxiety affect your baby?
This is a question that lingers in many mothers’ minds. If left untreated, postnatal anxiety will affect how you nurture your child; hence the condition will directly affect him. For example, if you fear the worst for your child, and you avoid taking him out, the chances are that he will grow to avoid people. Therefore, and he might not develop relationships in future. Also, he might find it difficult to understand language, and can develop attention problems.
Postnatal anxiety, however, does not affect all babies. If you are worried that this condition is affecting how you interact with your baby, talk to a child health nurse, or better still, ask your partner or family members to help in raising him.
Things that can help cope with postnatal anxiety
There are various ways in which this condition can be treated including;
Cognitive behavioural therapy- popularly known as CBT, this treatment option aims to understand how your body and mind respond to stress and develop effective ways to deal with the reactions.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy- IPT is an effective treatment that will help you deal with postnatal anxiety, mainly if it has been caused by social issues.
Relaxation training– this training that will help your body and mind relax; thus getting rid of the anxiety in no time.
Other ways that can help you get rid of this problem include;
- Be positive about parenthood
- Set aside sometime every day and relax your body and mind
- Search for a self-help book or magazine online and read
- Eat healthily
- Exercise regularly
Try complementary therapies such as reflexology, hypnotherapy, and massage.
Is joining a postnatal group the best treatment option?
Truthfully, there is nothing that will help you coup with this problem than speaking to others about it. Check online for groups you can join. If you are not comfortable talking to strangers, look for a local postnatal group, where you will get the support and mentorship you need. As far as quick and convenient recovery is concerned, joining a postnatal group is the most recommended option.