Postpartum Anxiety

There is a lot of talk about postpartum depression, and with good reason—about 15% of new moms deal with this serious issue. But, just as serious is postpartum anxiety: a very real and very scary problem faced by about 1 in 10 new moms. 

What is postpartum anxiety? 

It’s important to note what postpartum anxiety isn’t. All new moms have a little extra anxiety when it comes to their new baby, but women who experience postpartum anxiety have more extreme feelings of anxiety that never seem to go away. They may have panic attacks along with depression symptoms, as well. Symptoms of postpartum anxiety include: 

  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits (too much or too little) 
  • Feeling overwhelmed 
  • Racing thoughts that you can’t control 
  • Irritability 
  • Worrying all the time 
  • Constant fear that something bad will happen 
  • Difficulty sitting still and staying focused 
  • Dizziness and/or nausea 
  • Hot flashes 

How do I deal with postpartum anxiety? 

If you are experiencing symptoms of postpartum anxiety, it is very important to talk to your doctor right away. These symptoms are nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about—and delaying treatment could set you up for many years of mental health problems. 

Your doctor may prescribe medication, or they may refer you to a psychologist or therapist who has experience dealing with perinatal mood disorders. A therapist can help you to recognize anxious thoughts for what they are (unrealistic worries) and teach you to change your thinking and behavior so that you return to the rational human being you remember. 

In addition, trying various relaxation techniques might help you find some relief. You could consider: 

  • Meditation 
  • Yoga 
  • Massage 
  • Regular exercise 
  • A warm bath (or whatever helps you relax!) 

Want to learn more about postpartum depression? Visit our Supporting Motherhood page.