After Delivery

Postpartum anxiety: what is it and what are the symptoms?

August 29 , 2019
Dr. Mariella Suleiman
Mariella got her Medical Degree from the Hashemite University in Jordan....More

After giving birth, many moms usually experience stressful thoughts and feelings about their newborns, and they become anxious to the extent that those feelings start to control their lives in a negative way

We have heard a lot about Postpartum depression, but have you ever heard of another illness condition that is called “Postpartum anxiety”?

Postpartum anxiety can occur by itself or alongside Postpartum Depression. The anxious thoughts can range from “did the baby get enough milk?” to “will the baby choke to death while sleeping?”.

It can be very paralyzing and scary sometimes to not understand why such fearful thoughts arise and well as not being able to control or change them. So, how do we recognize Postpartum Anxiety?

Symptoms include:

  • Excessive and constant worrying (mostly about the baby)
  • Racing thoughts
  • Constant feeling that something bad is going to happen
  • Inability to relax
  • Disturbed sleep/insomnia
  • Disturbed appetite
  • Fidgeting/pacing/inability to sit still
  • Physical symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, dizziness, nausea, tingling and numbness of the fingers and toes
  • Feeling unwell/tired

It’s very important to exclude any medical illnesses, such as thyroid disease, which can arise in the postpartum period and present similarly.

Furthermore, it’s very important to support the new mother with house chores and baby related activities because she easily feels overwhelmed and needs extra support.  

Taking breaks from feeding the baby by taking turns with someone can be very helpful as well as assuring that she gets enough sleep. It is also advised to go for a walk, do some exercise or other activities that helps the mom relax.

Finally, it’s an illness that needs treatment. The treatment depends on the severity and patient preference. It includes talk therapy for behavioral changes to reduce anxiety and if the symptoms are severe, medications prescribed by a psychiatrist need to be added. The length of treatment depends on the severity of the illness.

You can always get in contact with us on social media for questions and guidance on how to seek help.