Perinatal depression and anxiety describes various mood and/or anxiety disorders during pregnancy and after childbirth. Many times people exhibit symptoms of both depression and anxiety, causing a very agitated, anxious depression. Unfortunately perinatal depression/anxiety often go undetected and misdiagnosed.
Perinatal Depression Symptoms
The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)
The EPDS is a 10-item, assessment tool that takes about 5 minutes to complete. This scale has been validated with a number of research studies which have shown the tool to be a reliable measure of depression during the postpartum period. It is generally accepted that a score of 10 is possible PPD and a score of 12 is probable PPD.
Download: Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale 1 (EPDS)
Perinatal Anxiety Symptoms
Q: Is this the Baby Blues?
The Baby Blues is not PPD. Experts estimate about 80% of new mothers experience weepiness, moodiness, irritability and fatigue during the first 2 weeks after giving birth. The Baby Blues are a normal adjustment period and can usually resolve without any medical assistance.
Q: When should I seek help?
You should seek help by a licensed clinician who specializes in postpartum care when:
- Symptoms last longer than 2-3 weeks after childbirth.
- You experience symptoms anytime during your first year postpartum that concern you.
*Women experiencing symptoms that seem unusually severe (severe agitation, delusional or bizarre thinking, hallucinations, insomnia, confusion, and a feeling of being out of touch with reality) should be referred for immediate medical intervention. Although rare, (1-2 in 1000 birthing persons), Postpartum Psychosis can initially be mistaken for the Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression and is considered a medical emergency.