After pregnancy, anxiety may be a bigger problem than depression

Post-partum depression affects many young mothers right after they have given birth, but Pennsylvania researchers say anxiety is far more common immediately after childbirth.

The result is that new mothers plagued by serious mental distress may reduce breast-feeding and seek medical care within two weeks after they have their babies.

“Postpartum depression has gotten a lot more attention than anxiety. But it’s anxiety that’s an acute concern and affects so many aspects of the hospital stay and postpartum course,” said study author Ian Paul, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the Penn State College of Medicine, in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “Childbirth tends not to be a depressing situation for a majority of women, but it is anxiety-provoking, especially for first-time moms.”

When the research team evaluated more than 1,100 new mothers, they found that 17 percent were suffering from anxiety while they were still in the hospital after giving birth. In the same timeframe, only 6 percent reported symptoms of post-partum depression.

While the numbers of those suffering from severe anxiety dropped significantly to about 7 percent six months after childbirth, there were still more women reporting chronic stress rather than depression at that point. Breast-feeding, particularly if it’s not going well, can be a large source of anxiety.

The study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, pointed out the need for medical providers to ask new mothers about their anxiety levels as well as symptoms of depression during regular newborn visits, Paul told MedlinePlus.

Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and taking dietary supplements such as Vital B-100 from Dr. Newton’s Naturals have both neurological and physical benefits that help relieve stress.  Containing a combination of eight B vitamins and a blend of antioxidants, Vital B-100 offers support for the nervous system down to the cellular level.

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