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support for difficult situations

SHARE

For couples that have experienced the devastating loss of their infant through stillbirth or miscarriage, SHARE is a local chapter of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support that offers special support for couples. For more information, call 630.275.1520.

Perinatal Depression Support Services

Having a baby can be the most exciting and exhilarating experience. It is also one of the most challenging times, both physically and emotionally, for you and your family as you cope with your new addition to the family. Emotional ups and downs are natural during this transition period.

The transition before and after childbirth is more difficult for some new mothers. Any woman who is thinking about becoming pregnant, is pregnant, or had a baby within the past year can be affected. If you experience any of the following symptoms seek early detection and support so you can more quickly recover and return to a happy, healthy family life.

Baby Blues

The Baby Blues is the most well-known category of normal adjustment that affects 50 percent to 80 percent of new mothers. This is not considered a postpartum mood disorder, but a common occurrence that is hormonally induced. The onset can be from birth through the first few weeks. Baby blues symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Continuous crying
  • Oversensitivity
  • Anxiety
  • No confidence
  • Exhaustion
  • No energy
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Not eating
  • Sadness
  • Physical pain
  • Not sleeping
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • New fears

If after two weeks postpartum the symptoms continue or worsen, it may indicate a more serious condition.

Postpartum Depression

One in 10 new mothers experience various degrees of depression during the childbearing year. For the following categories, the onset can be anywhere from two weeks up to one year postpartum. These more serious disorders can impact up to 20 percent of new parents. The most common symptoms of depression may include, but are not limited to:

  • A sense of despair
  • Feeling hopeless
  • No energy or interests
  • Sleeping too much or insomnia
  • Frightening thoughts about the baby or other family members
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Guilt, shame
  • Hypochondria
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Depressed mood
  • Suicidal thoughts

Postpartum Anxiety

Postpartum anxiety has the same time onset and can be manifested by someone also experiencing depression. Postpartum anxiety symptoms include:

  • Muscle tension
  • Tingling/numbness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Anger/rage
  • Hyperventilating
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Immobilizing Guilt
  • Continuous irritability
  • Agoraphobia
  • Fear of being alone
  • Feeling trapped
  • Constant fears for baby's health
  • Nausea/Vomiting

Postpartum Panic Disorder

Postpartum panic disorder may be an acute condition experienced by someone with anxiety. Panic attack symptoms are often confused with those of a heart attack. Once a person has experienced a panic attack, their anticipatory fear can begin a terrible cycle of anxiety and panic. Postpartum panic disorder symptoms include:

  • Anxiety symptoms
  • Fear of dying or death of the baby or partner
  • Acute shortness of breath
  • Fear of going crazy
  • Choking sensation

Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive disorder

Postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder is characterized by obsessive thoughts and manifested by compulsive rituals.

Intrusive obsessive thoughts can include:

  • Fears (I'm not a good mother)
  • Shame
  • Embarrassment
  • Guilt
  • Inadequacy
  • Scary thoughts about harming the baby*

Compulsive behaviors may include:

  • Ritual cleaning
  • Constant checking the baby for abnormalities
  • Continuous safety checks of the baby, house, etc.

*Normally, a woman will recognize that these scary thoughts are disturbing.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

The trauma of delivery or traumatic situations surrounding the birth can trigger memories of past trauma, especially memories of sexual or physical abuse. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms include:

  • Intrusive memories of the trauma (past and present)
  • Recurrent nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Avoidance
  • Anger/rage
  • Loss of interests
  • Hypervigilence about the baby

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a rare disorder, which affects one to two in every thousand births. The onset is often early, usually within the first two weeks following delivery. Postpartum psychosis symptoms include:

  • Inability to relax
  • Incoherence
  • Disinterest in or refusal of food
  • Paranoia
  • Bizarre hallucinations
  • Inability to differentiate reality from hallucinations
  • Severe insomnia
  • Irrationality
  • Delusional thinking
  • Manic behavior (hyperactivity, impulsive behavior)
  • Confusion

Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings alternating between depression and mania. Frequently, psychotic episodes in the postpartum period are due to bipolar disorder.


Good Samaritan Hospital's Perinatal Depression Support Services can assist you through this challenging adjustment period. We offer:

  • Risk assessment and screening
  • Telephone support
  • Group support
  • Educational classes
  • Inpatient hospital support
  • Referral to appropriate health providers

For more information, call 630.275.4436 or email Diane Semprevivo at diane.semprevivo@advocatehealth.com.You can also view or download a copy of our brochure by clicking here.

If you do not have the Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, you can download it free from Adobe.

Perinatal Depression Screenings

The following links can assist you in identifying risk factors for postpartum depression.

If the results show you are at risk or if you have questions about postpartum depression, contact a medical professional. If you're in the Good Samaritan Hospital service area, call 630.275.4436.

  • Continuous crying
  • Oversensitivity
  • Anxiety
  • No confidence
  • Exhaustion
  • No energy
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Not eating
  • Sadness
  • Physical pain
  • Not sleeping
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • New fears

If after two weeks postpartum the symptoms continue or worsen, it may indicate a more serious condition.


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