‘Perinatal’ describes the period during pregnancy (antenatal) as well as the year following birth (postnatal). Women can develop symptoms of depression and anxiety before, during, or after the birth of a child, or may experience symptoms throughout. When considering the huge life adjustment associated with being a new mum, on top of the demands of a pregnancy or a newborn, it is unsurprising that some women experience depression and/or anxiety.
Many women worry that the transition to motherhood should be effortless and joyful, and feel frustrated or confused when this is not the case for them. If you are experiencing perinatal depression or anxiety, you may be distressed by your mood and inability to enjoy aspects of the pregnancy or newborn period. You may be noticing ongoing changes in your mood, sleep, motivation, confidence, appetite, and have begun to withdraw from family and friends. If this is the case for you, it is important to speak with a professional. In some cases, without seeking support, symptoms of perinatal anxiety and depression can have a lasting impact a woman’s self-esteem.
Motherhood presents some of the greatest challenges and joys in life. For some women, pregnancy and birth does not go as planned, and they encounter emotional difficulties they didn’t anticipate. For example, you may have had a positive and uncomplicated pregnancy in the past, and are surprised to now be experiencing perinatal anxiety.
You may identify with some of the factors which are believed to contribute to perinatal anxiety and depression: