Post-Natal Distress

What is Post-Natal Distress?

Post-natal distress is a type of term describing and incorporating depression and anxiety due to post-natal, the post-natal blues, the post-natal pinks, the post-natal psychosis and the disorder of post-traumatic stress that arises immediately after birth. The main factors that trigger the illness are physical, emotional, social, psychological and hormonal factors.

Risk Factors

Post-natal distress is experienced in many cultures and is accompanied by a number of risk factors that may lead to post-natal distress. Post-natal distress has a number of risk factors such as:

  • Anxiety or depression symptoms while pregnant
  • A previous record of clinical depression
  • A birth experience that is traumatic
  • A record of depression in the family
  • Having many stresses that are ongoing
  • Lack of a partner who offers emotional support
  • Lack of the required support from family and friends

Symptoms of Post-Natal Distress

A number of the new mothers are likely to experience post-natal lows or post-natal highs and symptoms. These symptoms are observed immediately after the woman gives birth.  There are cases where these symptoms develop and become post-natal depression. This is a common problem in a number of women. Post-natal distress normally manifests while the woman is pregnant but manifests after childbirth. This is generally identified as post-natal depression. However, post-natal distress can also manifest immediately after the women give birth to a child, and it can even arise within the first year after childbirth. In a number of cases, it is observed after a period of six months from the time of birth. A percentage of women exceeding 6% is said to experience birth trauma.

Other symptoms of post-natal distress are:

  • Experiencing sleep disturbance
  • Change in appetite
  • A low mood with a tearful or sad feeling
  • A sense of panic
  • Losing interest in some activities like sex
  • Having thoughts that are negative and obsessive
  • Failure to make decisions
  • A feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Lack of motivation and fatigue
  • Problems with memory and losing concentration
  • Feeling tired
  • Aches, pain and headaches
  • A feeling of isolating and withdrawing
  • Losing confidence and self-esteem

Symptoms Related to Birth Trauma

The symptoms relating to birth trauma are:

  • The inability of remembering an important activity that took place (this condition is known as psychogenic amnesia)
  • Having a flashback of the vivid memories, event memories and sudden memories of the traumatic event
  • A startled response that is exaggerated
  • Fantasies relating to retaliation
  • Hypersensitivity directed to injustice, typically after causing trouble and stressors (Hyper-vigilant)
  • Avoiding any reminders that are related to the traumatic event
  • Always being on guard (Hyper-arousal)
  • Having psychological stress that is intense when you encounter the events related to the traumatic event
  • An experience of physiological reactivity to the traumatic events

If you are experiencing post-natal distress, know that you are not alone and that there are many professional services that can help you.