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The #1 Complication of Childbirth

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

Did you know that the #1 complication of childbirth in the United States is a Perinatal or Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorder?

How common is this complication, you ask? Approximately 1 in 10 birthing people will experience a Postpartum Mood Disorder. If around 3 million people give birth each year in the US, this statistic means that 300,000 of them will experience a Postpartum Mood Disorder Reports also show that only about 50% of these cases are diagnosed by a mental health professional. This could mean that many people who are experiencing symptoms do not get the mental health support they need.

Perinatal Mood Disorders don't just affect birthing people, studies show that 10% of fathers or non-birthing people experience Postpartum Depression. This would be around 300,00 people per year as well. These are probably conservative estimates. If 50% of each of these parents don't receive the mental health support they need, that means approximately 300,000+ parents per year are struggling with perinatal or postpartum mood disorders and not receiving the help they need.

Perinatal Mood Disorders are different than the "Baby Blues". The "Baby Blues" occurs in 15–85% of birthing people within 10 days of giving birth and peaks around the 5th day. Common signs of the "Baby Blues" are:

  • Mood Swings

  • Feeling very tired

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Irritability

  • Not feeling like yourself

  • Feeling like nothing will be the same

  • Not thinking clearly

Although the "Baby Blues" can be hard to go through, it typically does not require intervention.

Perinatal Mood Disorders occur when the signs of the "Baby Blues" last more than 2-3 weeks and get to the point where they interfere with daily living. People from all walks of life can experience a Perinatal Mood Disorder. Some risk factors include:

  • Personal or family history of clinical depression

  • Severe premenstrual syndrome

  • Personal history of mood or anxiety disorder

  • Lack of sleep

  • Fertility issues

  • Other stressors

What Should you do if you believe you have a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety disorder?

I would advise you to seek help either from your primary care doctor or a mental health practitioner or ideally, both! A successful plan to treat your symptoms could include:

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