Mood and Anxiety Disorders Are the Most Common Complication of the Perinatal Period


pregnant woman looking out windowBeing pregnant and having a baby is a time full of ups and downs. It can be hard to know if concerns you may be experiencing are expected or something more. Many factors can influence your mood including lack of sleep, hormone fluctuations and day to day stressors. So how do you know if, when, and how to get more support? Below is a rundown of what you can expect and how to know if you, or someone you love, should reach out for more support.


Is it normal to be moody?

  • It is normal to experience some irritability and mood swings during pregnancy; however, symptoms of a mood disorder during pregnancy are sometimes misidentified as normal hormonal changes.
  • If you find you are struggling to function, you are not sure how to cope or you feel overwhelmed much of the time, it is important reach out to your provider and/or your support people to seek help.

Is it normal to be so tired?

  • Pregnancy can be exhausting. You may need more sleep than you do when you are not pregnant.
  • Lack of sleep can cause irritability and stress.
  • If you notice you are not able to function most of the time because you are so tired, make sure to let your provider know.

Is it normal to worry?

  • It is normal to have some passing worries related to your pregnancy; you may worry about the health of your baby, your changing body or giving birth.
  • If you find your worries are getting in the way of doing things you normally do, your relationships or your daily activities, it is important to reach out to someone you trust or a counselor.

Baby Blues

What are the Baby Blues?

  • The time right after you give birth to two weeks after.
  • Symptoms include: feeling really sensitive, more sadness, cry easily, have a hard time sleeping, being more irritable and feeling overwhelmed.
  • Up to 80 percent of women experience Baby Blues.
  • These feeling may get worse seven to 10 days after your baby is born and get better, on their own, usually within two weeks’ time.
  • These feelings are thought to be related to changes in hormones after you delivered.
  • This is NOT considered a mental health issue.

Symptoms of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Whether you are pregnant or not, here is what to look for if you are concerned about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders:

  • Significant trouble sleeping—sleeping too much or too little
  • Significant changes in appetite—eating too much or too little
  • Losing interest in things your normally enjoy
  • Not wanting to take care of yourself—shower, brush your teeth, get dressed, etc.
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed, sadness that doesn’t go away or hopelessness
  • Uncontrolled worry
  • Poor concentration
  • Increased irritability
  • Panic attacks
  • Isolation
  • Thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself or someone else

Some symptoms specific to the postpartum period are:

  • Thoughts of harming your baby or harm coming to your baby that are deeply concerning
  • Not wanting to hold or bond with your baby

When should I get help?


  • If symptoms start affecting your ability to do your normal day to day routine
  • If you continue to have these symptoms for two weeks or longer
  • If you have thoughts of killing yourself or someone else, at any time
  • If you start experiencing difficulty knowing what’s real, feeling intensely scared

How do I get help?

Getting help starts by letting people know how bad you’re feeling. Reach out to someone you trust: your partner, family member, friend, medical professional, clergy member, etc. That person can help you figure out next steps.

Be sure to let your OB (or any other health care professional) know how you’re feeling. Being depressed and/or anxious is pretty isolating but your doctor can help you access help.

If you don’t feel like you have that trusted, supportive person, or prefer to take the next steps on your own, call Ascension Seton Behavioral Health Care’s Resource Navigation Department at 512-324-2039 during business hours to speak with a licensed mental health professional. After hours, you can call your doctor or help line – PSI Warmline 1-800-944-4773

In emergencies, call 911 or Psychiatric Emergency Services at 512-472-4357


You have it in you to care for your baby. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and forget this. Things can get really confusing, especially with lack of sleep, a baby that cries a lot, mood problems, pain, lack of support, money concerns… the list can go on and on. The wonderful thing is that you don’t have to do this alone. There are caring professionals who can help. And, with the right help, you will feel better.

It is okay to ask for help. Here at Ascension Seton Behavioral Health, we’re here to support you.