Can You Diagnose PPA Before Giving Birth? Experts Explain

By
Share
Ad failed to load

As a mom of five, I can tell you that it's completely normal to want to get things right as a mom, and to constantly worry about effectively protecting your kids. But if your worries become obsessive, overwhelming, illogical, or interfere with your ability to function, you might be suffering from postpartum anxiety (PPA) — a mood disorder that impacts one out of seven women after their babies are born. But can you diagnose PPA before giving birth? After all, preparation is the name of the new-mom game.

According to the experts at Anxiety.org, while you can't necessarily diagnose PPA before your baby is born, there are factors that could increase your risk of developing postpartum anxiety, or other postpartum mood disorders after birth, that you can consider before you have your baby. Having one or more of these risk factors doesn't mean you will necessarily get PPA, but you can learn about symptoms, talk to your health care provider about coping strategies, and create a plan for treatment, should you need one. Also, because anxiety during pregnancy is one of those risk factors, all pregnant women should be screened for anxiety. The aforementioned screening, and a treatment plan, could potentially reduce their risk of negative pregnancy outcomes and developing a postpartum mood disorder.

Ad failed to load

According to Julie Bindeman, PsyD, a reproductive psychologist who specializes in mood disorders during and after pregnancy, postpartum anxiety (PPA) is more common than you might think — impacting one out of seven women. But since it's completely normal to worry when you're a new mom, people often dismiss anxious thoughts when they happen, or hesitate to talk about them because they are worried about what people might think.

Bindeman warns that the difference between worry and anxiety is subtle, telling Anxiety.org the following:

Ad failed to load

According to Postpartum Support International, symptoms of PPA include worrying constantly, or having thoughts that something bad is going to happen, racing thoughts, insomnia, appetite changes, feeling unable to sit still, dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea. Elizabeth Fitelson, MD, director of the Women's Program at the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, told Parents that PPA can be triggered by one or many things that happen to new moms, including postpartum hormone changes, sleep deprivation, the stress of caring for a newborn, and the pressure to be a perfect parent.

So, rather than just worrying about it, can you get diagnosed with PPA before you give birth and start treatment in advance? Unfortunately, according to anxiety.org, you can't predict who will develop a postpartum anxiety disorder. However, you might be able to identify risk factors that increase your odds. Risk factors for PPA include having a personal or family history of anxiety or other mental health conditions, a history of PMS or feeling mood swings when taking hormonal birth control, and having thyroid problems. Other non-health-related risk factors include experiencing pregnancy loss, being a pregnant teen, lower socioeconomic status, a lack of social support, or living in crisis.

Ad failed to load

According to the same site, having anxiety during your pregnancy can mean that you are more likely to have anxiety during the postpartum period. For this reason, Dr. Bindeman recommends that women be screened for anxiety, and that anyone with risk factors meet with a health care professional to make a plan for what to do if they develop PPA after their baby is born.

The good news is that postpartum anxiety disorders are treatable. According to the Postpartum Support Network, PPA treatment plans will be different for each mom, but might include self-care, social support, therapy, symptom management or medication. Most importantly, you don't have suffer alone.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack