PPMD Symptoms
Baby Blues
Up to 85 percent of all new mother experience the baby blues. Mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents also can experience mood disorders in the postpartum period that go beyond baby blues and even Postpartum Depression. Called Postpartum Mood Disorders (PPMD), they differ from "baby blues" in lasting beyond the initial two or three weeks after birth and having symptoms that are more severe and more diverse. These disorders interfere with a family's joy over a new baby and interrupt the parent-infant bonding process. They can appear as late as a year postpartum and during significant hormonal changes such as weaning from the breast or the return of menstruation.

Feelings of despair/hopelessness
Crying, tearfulness
Anger and irritability
Sleep disturbances (too much/little)
Loss of energy and interest
Physical symptoms (clumsiness, slowed speech, etc.)
Suicidal thoughts
Frightening thoughts about self, baby or other family members
Weight loss or gain
Feelings of guilt, shame, inadequacy
Hypochondria, excessive worries

Muscle tension
Chest pain
Shortness of breath; choking sensation
Hot/cold flashes
Tingling hands/feet
Fear of dying
Fear of going crazy
Fear of being alone, fears about baby's health, agoraphobia
Feeling trapped, immobilizing guilt
Racing heartbeat

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Recurring, persistent and disturbing thoughts, ideas or images (scary images of accidents, abuse, harm to baby)
Ritual behaviors done to avoid harming baby (e.g., put away knives) or to create protection for baby (e.g., don't leave the house), constantly checking the baby, house, etc.
Intrusive thoughts, fears, images
Person cannot control thoughts
PSI of WA Person understands that to act on these thoughts would be wrong
Hypervigilant (e.g., can't sleep for fear that something will happen to baby/ constant "fight or flight" mode)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (usually occurs soon after birth)
Previous trauma (recent or in the past - abuse, accident, etc.)
Feeling of anxiety when exposed to situations similar to the trauma
Sensations of "being in the trauma" now
Emotional numbing/detachment

Bipolar Disorder
Formerly referred to as Manic-Depressive Disorders, Bipolar Disorders are not technically classified as Postpartum Mood Disorders per se. However, about half of all women who have Bipolar Disorder are first diagnosed postpartum.

Bipolar Disorder has two subcategories, Type I and Type II. Bipolar Type I presents periods of depression and mania in which the patient may experience psychotic episodes and lose touch with reality. Bipolar Type II differs in that the patient remains lucid throughout the swings of depression/mania and the manic times are often characterized as very productive, high energy moments when the patient feels quite good. Bipolar Type II can easily be misdiagnosed as depression, as the manic times feel so normal and good.

If a bipolar condition is misdiagnosed and treated as depression, the resulting medical treatment of prescribing only antidepressants can potentially have serious consequences by causing a rapid-cycling manic episode which may require hospitalization in some cases. Thus, it is critical that the patient reviews her own as well as her family history for Bipolar Disorder, as well as seeing a professional that is very well trained in Postpartum Mood Disorders and Bipolar Disorders.

Mania (part of Bipolar Disorders)
Feel great/high energy
Decreased need for sleep/insomnia
Feeling "speedy"
Easily distracted
Mind racing, cannot shut off thoughts
Pressured, fast speech

Psychosis (rare, and requires immediate treatment, often including hospitalization and medication)
Delusions (often about baby)
PSI of WA Hallucinations
Irrational thoughts
Refusal to eat
Poor judgment
Lack decision making abilities
Break with reality
Severe insomnia
Higher risk if Bipolar Disorder in self or family