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What additional disorders can affect pregnancy?

  • Perinatal Anxiety: It is estimated that 15-21% of pregnant women experience moderate to severe symptoms of depression or anxiety (Wisner KL, Sit DKY, McShea MC, et al. JAMA Psychiatry 2013).
  • Perinatal Panic Disorder: This is a form of anxiety that occurs in up to 11% of new mothers. Symptoms include: feeling very nervous, recurring panic attacks (shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations), many worries or fears (Wenzel A. 2011).
  • Perinatal Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: This is the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed of the perinatal disorders. It is estimated that as many as 11% of new mothers will experience the following symptoms: obsessions (persistent thoughts or intrusive mental images often related to the baby), compulsions (doing things over and over to reduce the fears and obsessions) or avoidance, and a sense of horror about the obsessions. These mothers know their thoughts are bizarre and are very unlikely to ever act on them (Miller ES. J Reprod Med 2013).
  • Postpartum Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An estimated 9% of women experience PTSD following childbirth (Beck C, et al Birth 2011). Symptoms typically include: Traumatic childbirth experience with a reexperiencing of the trauma (dreams, thoughts, etc.), avoidance of stimuli associated with the event (thoughts, feelings, people, places, details of event, etc.), and persistent increased arousal (irritability, difficulty sleeping, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response).
  • Perinatal Bipolar Disorder: Over 70% of women with bipolar disorder who stop medication when pregnant become ill during the pregnancy. Twenty-two percent of depressed postpartum women are suffering from a bipolar depression (Wisner KL, Sit DKY, McShea MC, et al. JAMA Psychiatry 2013).
  • Postpartum Psychosis: Occurs in approximately 1 to 2 of every 1,000 deliveries (Sit, et al, 2006). The onset is usually sudden, most within the first 4 weeks, with symptoms including: delusions (strange beliefs) and/or hallucinations, feeling very irritated, hyperactive, decreased need for sleep, and significant mood changes with poor decision-making. There is a 5% suicide rate and 4% infanticide rate associated with Psychosis and thus immediate treatment is imperative (Sit D, et al, JWH 2006).