More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, it has become clear that many Americans are struggling with a variety of mental and emotional challenges. For new moms, those challenges can be especially overwhelming.
What you might not realize is just how pervasive postpartum depression is right now.
During what is traditionally one of the happiest times of a woman’s life – bringing a new baby home – we find our world turned upside down. Familiar routines are long gone, and we might not even be able to share these important times with those who are closest to us.
Fortunately, help is available, so you don’t have to struggle alone.
The Growing Challenge of Postpartum Depression
A study of new mothers conducted after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic revealed disturbing increases in the frequency of postpartum depression and anxiety. Of the approximately 900 women who participated, 40.7% scored highly for depression, compared to 15% prior to the pandemic. Although 29% of participants reported moderate to high anxiety before the pandemic, 72% of new moms had scores considered to fall into this range at the time of the study.
This means that, if you have recently given birth, you could face a significantly higher risk of developing postpartum anxiety and depression that you faced before the onset of COVID-19.
Another study demonstrated an increased risk of not only generalized anxiety but clinical levels of PTSD for pregnant and postpartum women today.
Addressing Pregnancy-Related Depression & Anxiety
The good news is that both of these studies determined that women have effective ways to deal with these growing challenges. Physical activity was demonstrated to have a positive effect on depression and anxiety. Getting as much sleep as possible and practicing good self-care can also help. In addition, growing access to online platforms of mental health support services can provide a critical level of relief for many new moms.
Unfortunately, many women are unaware that what they’re feeling isn’t necessarily normal. They might chalk their feelings up to the “baby blues,” hormonal shifts, stress, lack of sleep or other conditions. They might not realize that real-world solutions are readily available to them.
Seeking Help for Postpartum Depression
Knowing where to turn for help is important for pregnant women and women who have recently given birth.
Mental Health America (MHA), a leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting the mental health and well-being, suggests calling on people in your support system for help, getting groceries and other essentials delivered, or looking for an online support group for new moms. However, if your feelings of depression or anxiety persist or begin to overwhelm you, don’t hesitate to seek out professional help.
Serenity Recovery & Wellness provides comprehensive and compassionate maternal mental health services for women in Salt Lake City and the surrounding communities of northern Utah. We can help you navigate the complex waters of all types of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including prenatal and postpartum depression.
You don’t have to face the mental health challenges of being a new mom alone. Contact us today to speak to one of our highly trained therapists or nurse practitioners.