When it comes to not feeling like yourself after giving birth, postpartum depression isn’t the only diagnosis. You could have the baby blues, postpartum anxiety, or postpartum depression. Here’s a quick look at all three terms including a few suggestions on what to do next. This is not intended for self-diagnosis but for a better understanding of your symptoms.
What Is The Difference Between Postpartum Depression And Anxiety?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (MMD) only distinguish between postpartum depression and major depressive disorders. However, most mental health professionals agree there are three conditions women could be struggling with post-pregnancy.
Baby Blues—this can last for about 2 weeks and is often caused by the rapid shift in post-pregnancy hormones. Also, the overwhelming experience of giving birth and the life change of having a baby at home.
Postpartum Depression (PPD)—this is an intense feeling of overwhelm that lasts more than 2 weeks. Symptoms include not feeling like yourself, feeling out of control, questioning being a parent, or feeling numb. Even thoughts of self-harm or harming your infant. Symptoms can vary and often last up to a year. Moms can have PPD even if they have never struggled with depression.
Postpartum Anxiety—also referred to as perinatal generalized anxiety disorder, is a loss of normalcy, balance, and calm. It can include overwhelming worry, agitation, and racing thoughts. For example, the “what if” worries of the dangers in the world or anxiety of leaving your baby with someone else. Moms can have postpartum anxiety if they’ve never struggled with anxiety. Symptoms can last a year or more.
Approximately, 15 percent of new moms experience perinatal anxiety, and up to 20 percent experience postpartum depression. Moms can experience both anxiety and depression at the same time.
Is Postpartum Anxiety A Disability?
If not treated, new mom anxiety can worsen, lead to OCD, and even depression. If your symptoms last more than 2 weeks, include thoughts of self-harm or harming your baby, or are extreme it is important to seek out postpartum anxiety help.
For example, although you know your baby is safe with your partner or parents while you go grocery shopping, you are unable to leave your baby.
If you are diagnosed with either PPD or perinatal anxiety, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
Is Postpartum Depression Covered Under FMLA?
You may be able to return to work during your postpartum recovery, but yes, postpartum depression and anxiety are covered under FMLA. This can provide you with up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off. However, this includes your maternity time. Keep in mind that you must work for a company large enough to qualify for FMLA, and you must qualify for FMLA.
General criteria are as follows:
- The company must have 50 employees or more within a 75 mile radius.
- You must be employed for at least 12 months.
- You must have worked at least 1,250 hours over the last 12 months.
- And more
However, many smaller companies that do not meet the FMLA criteria provide some type of unpaid maternity leave. Ask if you are unsure.
What Helps With Anxiety After Having A Baby?
If your symptoms last more than 2 weeks, it’s best to seek out treatment for postpartum anxiety. It’s important to note that anxiety can begin weeks or months before giving birth.
Also, every pregnancy is different. You are 50 percent more likely to have anxiety or depression if you experienced it with a previous pregnancy. So, even if you only had the baby blues during your last pregnancy, you could have anxiety or depression next time. Or only in 1 of 3 pregnancies.
Both obstetricians and pediatricians are capable of assessing the difference between baby blues, anxiety, and depression. However, they don’t provide treatment. So, request a referral or search online for “postpartum anxiety therapist near me”.
Search for a therapist who specializes in postpartum mental health and who is a cultural and ethnic match.
How Long Does Anxiety Last After Having A Baby?
Most new mom’s anxiety will gradually fade over the next 12 months, faster if working with a therapist. If left untreated, it’s possible for anxiety to last longer or transition into an anxiety disorder. Chronic anxiety also increases your risk for depression.
Some women put off seeking out help because their loved ones are dismissive. Statements like “oh it’s just the baby blues” or “every new mom feels that way” can leave you feeling frustrated, misunderstood, and confused. Yes, life will be different with a new baby at home, but if you don’t feel like yourself for more than 2 weeks—seek out help.
How Long Should You Rest After Giving Birth?
Even after a cesarian, you’ll be asked to begin walking after you’ve had a bit of time to rest. However, most physicians suggest that you wait for at least 6 to 8 weeks before returning to strenuous physical activity. In the meantime, you can take strolls with your new baby and perform assigned exercises and stretches. Assigned exercises and stretches are designed to be gentle and restorative. These often include Kegels, abdominal exercises, and pelvic-floor strengthening.
How Long Did It Take For Your Stomach To Go Down After Birth?
Your body has just created the miracle of life and some of your stress may be related to getting your body back. The fact of the matter is, your body may never be the same. That’s ok!
It takes the average woman between 6 to 12 months to lose their baby weight. Oftentimes longer. But, even after your stomach tones up, you may have a stomach pouch. The odds of a pouch are higher if you’ve had more than one baby. If you have diastasis recti the postpartum workout video may help.
Can You Take CBD Postpartum?
Pregnant and breastfeeding moms should not take CBD. Once you have given birth and completed breastfeeding, Holmes Organics CBD may help to soothe your anxiety. In the meantime, your therapist will suggest a personalized mix of activities and exercises.