Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety are often thought to be the same disorder, but the terms shouldn't be used interchangeably. Postpartum anxiety is very different from postpartum depression and is more common than you may think. But what are the risk factors for postpartum anxiety and is there a way to prevent it?
Like postpartum depression, many women think that their postpartum anxiety is just a funk they need to get out of. A study in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that more than 15 percent of pregnant and postpartum women were affected by anxiety and related disorders, and that the prevalence of postpartum anxiety actually exceeded that of postpartum depression.
According to Parents, postpartum anxiety is known as "the hidden disorder". It often goes undiagnosed, despite it being more common than postpartum depression, and many women are not treated for it. Although most new moms' fears and worries are normal, thoughts that tip into the irrational range, like being afraid to drive your car if your baby's in it or worrying that something tragic will happen to them, are classified as symptoms of postpartum anxiety according to Baby Center.
So how do you prevent yourself from developing postpartum anxiety? Is there a way you can keep yourself from developing this disorder? Knowing these three risk factors for postpartum anxiety can help ease your worries as can talking to a doctor. If you feel, for whatever reason, that you may be suffering from postpartum anxiety or prone to developing it, your healthcare provider can help.
1You Experienced A Miscarriage Or Stillbirth
The loss of a pregnancy is devastating and could actually make you more prone to postpartum anxiety. According to a 2013 study, women with a history of pregnancy loss are at an increased risk of developing anxiety after giving birth to a child. Researchers aren't exactly sure what the correlation is, but Postpartum Progress suggested that the trauma of a miscarriage or stillbirth may leave you anxious and worried that something will go wrong with a healthy pregnancy and baby.
2You've Been Previously Diagnosed With A Mood Disorder
Parents noted that any mom can be diagnosed with postpartum anxiety, but if you or a family member have previously suffered from a mood disorder like anxiety, depression or even certain extreme symptoms of PMS, like feeling weepy or agitated, you may be at an increased risk for developing postpartum anxiety.
3You Have A Sensitive Or Type A Personality
Postpartum Progress suggested that your personality may also be a risk factor for developing postpartum anxiety. The website noted that those with controlling, perfectionist, and Type A personalities may find that they are more sensitive to anxiety as they begin to panic about caring for a child and the intensity of new motherhood. Family therapist Sherry Duson also told Parents that moms who suffer from postpartum anxiety often describe themselves as being easily worried, sensitive, and Type A.