Postpartum Anxiety Or Depression
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.
Can CBD Products Help Manage Postpartum Depression?
Thanks in great part to forthcoming celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and social media connecting more parents than ever before, the subject of postpartum depression (PPD) is becoming less stigmatized. And it's about time, considering the fact that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research, nationally, about one in nine women experience symptoms, although in some states, the prevalence is as many as one in five. Meanwhile, research out of the University of British Columbia found that nearly 17 percent of new moms are diagnosed with postpartum anxiety (PPA).
With so many cases, it's no wonder more people are exploring their options. While prescription antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals might be an option for some, many are gravitating to CBD, or cannabidiol. The component of either a marijuana or hemp plant is non-psychoactive, unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)—which only comes from marijuana—and has been popping up in therapeutic products that boast anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-psychotic, anti-convulsant, and antidepressant properties.
Here's what you need to know about CBD for PPD.
- RELATED: What is Postpartum Depression?
What the Science Says
Although excitement about CBD is reaching a fever pitch these days, published research data on its efficacy for treatment of PPD is lacking, says Felice Gersh, M.D., a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist and author of
"CBD has anecdotal reports that it can help improve mood disorders, and there is a small amount of scientific data to support its use for depression, and more data supporting its use for anxiety," Dr. Gersh notes.
- RELATED: Coping With Anxiety and Depression During Pregnancy
How does it work? Researchers believe the mechanism by which CBD might offer significant mood benefits involves its ability to turn certain receptors of the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) on or off. The ECS' purpose: To maintain bodily homeostasis, or restore balance while controlling stress and pain, according to Mary Clifton, M.D., an internal medicine doctor in New York City.
Dr. Gersh elaborates, "CBD may affect the receptors which are involved with serotonin, a powerful neurotransmitter related to mood. here are endocannabinoid receptors throughout the female brain and CBD has the potential to improve brain healthy function and calm nerves."
Additionally, research has shown that PPD sufferers have 5-HT1A receptors, a subtype of serotonin receptor, that are less likely to bind to the feel-good neurotransmitter.
"It is possible that women who have been diagnosed with postpartum depression may not be triggering that happiness/well-being biosignal pathway," says Robert Flannery, PhD, founder of Dr. Robb Farms. "More research is definitely needed here, but the pieces are in place to form a testable hypothesis that states that the use of a compound—ahem, such as CBD, ahem—could help trigger that happiness pathway for patients who for some reason or another have trouble triggering that pathway."
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What Experts Say
Experts warn that people should always seek medical support as opposed to self-diagnosis or self-treatment when it comes to postpartum depression. It's important to remember that clinical PPD is a serious medical diagnosis that should not be taken lightly, points out Syeda Amna Husain, M.D., FAAP, founder of Pure Direct Pediatrics.
"Treatment should be sought as soon as possible, and I highly recommend patients steer toward proven treatment, which is generally a three-pronged approach: social support, psychotherapy and medication," Dr. Husain says. "Symptoms of mild PPD can often be managed with just social support and talk therapy, but if someone is struggling with moderate or severe postpartum depression, they should consider medication. There are many medication options which are very safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding, and people can discuss these options with their medical provider."
When it comes to using CBD products to treat postpartum depression, the lack of research raises a bevy of safety questions for most doctors.
"Powerful plants can impact any and all aspects of the baby's development," Dr. Gersh points out. "As receptors for the endocannabinoid system are widespread throughout the body, along with other receptors that CBD may interact with, it's simply unknown what long-term effects may be created by the use of CBD in a nursing mom or a pregnant woman."
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That said, anyone who is nursing their child would do well to steer clear of CBD products. If you're not nursing? You could be a perfect candidate for CBD when it comes to managing chronic pain, depression, anxiety or insomnia, Dr. Clifton says. She also notes that, apart from nursing and an allergy to CBD or cannabis, there are no significant safety concerns.
The Best Way to Use CBD
Start by seeking medical advice from a health care provider who can discuss the potential benefits or risks of trying CBD to treat postpartum depression.
"Ask what they know about CBD," Frank advises. "If your doctor is not familiar with CBD, I’d seek out a practitioner that is. If a woman is struggling with PPD and she's looking for options, she should explore them all and make the choice that best aligns with her goals for physical, mental and emotional well-being."
If you get the green light from your doctor, Dr. Clifton advises that patients who are just starting out to try a CBD tincture, which will offer rapid onset relief (usually within nine minutes).
"When you're taking a gummy bear or soft gel, the oral ingestion can take up to 90 minutes for onset of action, and that's often too long to tell if the product is working for you," she notes. "Once you determine what dose works for you, switching to a soft gel is often easier for some individuals."
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Bear in mind that mild anxiety seems more responsive to CBD than depression does, Dr. Gersh notes. But anyone who is postpartum and suffering from depression would do well to seek professional guidance.
Megan Ellow, LCSW, who sees patients at Nest Counseling & Wellness, a private practice that focuses on perinatal mental health, agrees. "CBD, like other adjunctive treatments, could be a great option if someone finds it helpful for depression or anxiety," says Ellow. "But postpartum mood and anxiety disorders often have many other layers to it which should be addressed through more evidenced based treatment options such as social support and talk therapy. Many cases of PPD or PPA are not just treating the depressive or anxious feelings but about addressing the huge loss of identity many new parents face, the deep isolation that parents feel when cooped up with a baby or the pain of unresolved childhood wounds. CBD doesn't address those deeper issues."
The Bottom Line
Seeking medical help for postpartum depression is essential for getting the right treatment, and anyone considering using CBD postpartum should consult their health care provider as they'll be familiar with your medical history, notes Maggie Frank, a mom who is also the National Educator for PlusCBD Oil.
CBD for Postpartum Depression: Is It Safe?
About 85% of women experience some kind of mood disturbance after giving birth. For many, this comes in the form of postpartum depression and anxiety, or baby blues. New mothers can endure fear, anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, and other physical changes that may lead to mental health issues.
Some antidepressants and prescription drugs can have side effects like mood swings that can make you feel even worse. Fortunately, there are other options. Many mothers have started to use CBD as an alternative treatment for symptoms that arise during pregnancy and early childcare.
But the CBD market is a confusing and rapidly changing space. To help you on your journey to a better mothering experience, we’ve put together a guide that explains everything you need to know about CBD for postpartum depression.
What you need to know about CBD
Cannabis products have become extremely popular with people all over the U.S.—and not just in states where marijuana is legalized. If that statement has you scratching your head, let’s give you a little background on the different forms of cannabis.
The plant can be divided into two categories: marijuana and hemp, which can be distinguished from one another by their THC content. Marijuana, the Schedule 1 controlled substance that is still illegal in many states, has high THC levels. Hemp, however, has lower THC concentrations that make up less than 0.3% of the plant’s compounds.
THC and CBD are both cannabinoids, or a type of compound found in cannabis. But unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects, so it can’t get you high. And while studies have shown that THC can be passed to a baby through the mother’s breast milk, research suggests that CBD doesn’t have any such effects.
CBD products that are widely available across the U.S. use extracts derived from the hemp plant and will contain little to no THC. For those concerned with using CBD while breastfeeding, you may want to try CBD isolate, which only contains CBD and no other cannabis compounds.
Is CBD safe to take while pregnant?
If you have postpartum anxiety or depression and are considering taking CBD to mitigate some of your symptoms, make sure you consult a doctor before doing so. Also keep in mind that CBD has not been approved or evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.
If you’re taking any prescription medication for a pre-existing medical condition, you should consult with a physician about possible drug-on-drug interactions. It helps to get advice from a healthcare professional who knows your medical history and can perhaps recommend the product type and dosage that will work best for you.
With CBD, it’s generally good to dose low and work your way up incrementally to a place that feels right to you. While there is a lot of positive anecdotal evidence about using CBD while pregnant, not many studies have been done because of the risks involved in using pregnant or nursing women as subjects.
In addition to talking to a doctor, it’s a good idea to do your own research and find a trustworthy brand with products that offer the kind of relief you’re looking for. The World Health Organization has said “CBD is generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile.” Despite its minimal side effects, it’s better to be cautious and measured in your approach when considering postpartum treatments.
How CBD may offer relief
The benefits of CBD are extensive and can go a long way towards helping your body regulate itself, which can ultimately improve your mood, emotional state, and energy levels. Many women have found success using these kinds of products to fight nausea, sleeplessness, and inflammation.
If you decide to use CBD for quick relief of symptoms like nausea and sleep-deprivation, a vape will probably be the best fit since it allows CBD to enter the bloodstream almost immediately. For something that you can take consistently, a longer-lasting product like CBD oil or a capsule might work better.
CBD creams or topicals are rubbed onto the skin and generally don’t penetrate through this barrier to effectively enter the bloodstream, so they are considered by some to be less risky for new mothers to use. They also tend to work great on localized pain areas to reduce inflammation and irritation.