The pandemic has taken a large toll on mental health of individuals across the nation. One demographic of individuals that have seen one of the most significant impacts of the pandemic is the perinatal and postnatal population. According to a study in the Journal of Maternal Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the risk of anxiety and depression in the perinatal and postnatal population.


The Maternal Mental Health Alliance sites multiple factors influencing the mental health of birthing individuals including but not limited to gaps in prenatal and postnatal health care, unequal access to health care for birthing individuals, changes in access to support systems, changes in hospital labor and birth polices, increased levels of isolation, and increased concerns for health and safety of infants and babies. Studies have also shown that Postpartum Depression and Anxiety are significantly under diagnosed due to shame and stigma associated with birthing individuals seeking treatment for these disorders.


It is important to know the signs and symptoms for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety because, if untreated, these symptoms can lead to a rare but serious condition called Postpartum Psychosis. If you are experiencing any of the below listed symptoms, reach out to your doctor or a therapist. Postpartum Depression, Anxiety and Psychosis are treatable through both therapy and medications.


Symptoms of Postpartum Depression:

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
  • Restlessness
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide


Symptoms of Postpartum Anxiety:

  • constant or near-constant worry that can’t be eased
  • feelings of dread about things you fear will happen
  • sleep disruption
  • racing thoughts
  • fatigue
  • heart palpitations
  • hyperventilation
  • sweating
  • nausea or vomiting
  • shakiness or trembling


Symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis:

  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Obsessive thoughts about your baby
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Excessive energy and agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Attempts to harm yourself or your baby