"The #1 health complication of pregnancy & birth."
GET THE FACTS
"Baby Blues"– Approximately 80 % of women report feeling the following: weepiness, irritability, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. This is a normal hormonal adjustment after delivery. These feelings should be mild and easily resolved within the first 10-12 days. If these feelings are greater than mild or persist for more than two weeks, it's time to contact your physician.
Depression/ Anxiety (during pregnancy and after) – Symptoms include feeling anxious, agitated, sleeping too much or difficulty “sleeping when the baby sleeps”, excessive worrying, tearfulness, irritability, anger, rage, guilt and shame, feeling disconnected from your family and/or baby, appetite changes, difficulty concentrating, and possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself. Approximately 10-25% will experience this.
Panic – Approximately 15% of women will experience symptoms of panic disorder during pregnancy or after. Symptoms include feeling worried, anxious or very nervous most of the time. You also may experience recurring panic attacks, which include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and/or chest pain, nausea/vomiting or fear of dying.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder – This can occur during pregnancy or following a childbirth which is perceived as traumatic and usually involves distressing memories, irritability, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, and efforts to avoid reminders of the trauma. Symptoms may be related to a prior traumatic experience or the birth itself. This affects approximately 3-5%.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Approximately 3-5% of women will experience OCD during or after pregnancy. Symptoms include intrusive and disturbing thoughts and/or images of harm coming to the baby, as well as a sense of horror about having these thoughts. This usually includes a preoccupation with keeping the baby safe through repetitive actions to reduce the fear and obsessions. Women disturbed by these thoughts are very unlikely to ever act on them.
Postpartum Psychosis – Usually occurs within the first few days or weeks after birth and includes having strange beliefs, hallucinations, irritability and agitation, inability to sleep, rapid mood changes, and poor decision-making. Women with psychosis are not disturbed by the nature of their thoughts or find them unusual. Women with psychosis are at significant risk for harming themselves and/or their infants, and need immediate crisis intervention. Occurs in 1-2 per 1000 births. This is a medical emergency, dial 911.
*For women with bi-polar disorder: those with bi-polar disorder are at a significantly higher risk of experiencing psychosis, particularly if they are not taking medication and are extremely sleep-deprived. It is important to develop a wellness plan with a practitioner familiar with postpartum illnesses. Having adequate support is a must.
Dr. Amandla Shabaka-Haynes, M.D. is a native of Tallahassee, Florida. She received her B.S. in Biology/Pre-medicine at Xavier University of Louisiana and completed her medical training at the Latin American School of Medicine. She currently serves as Program Manager for pediatric and perinatal behavioral health programs at the Florida State University College of Medicine Center for Behavioral Health Integration. Dr. Haynes has previously served as board member for Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition; Women's Health Liaison and Outreach Specialist at a local Federally Qualified Health Center. She is also a certified Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist.
Dr. Haynes is an advocate for the BIPOC birth community, supporting efforts to improve birth outcomes and reduce health inequities. In her volunteer roles, she serves as chair of the Awareness Workgroup of the Florida Maternal Mental Health Collaborative, Advisor for the Sister Friends Tallahassee Birthing Project, and Women’s Health Educator for the Melanin Mothers Meet Postpartum Support Program. At her core, Dr. Haynes is a mother, mentor, an active local and international community member, a bilingual health educator, and a lover of food and culture.