This post contains “Postpartum Anxiety Quiz” along with helpful tips to relieve your postpartum anxiety.
Although mild to moderate levels of anxiety during pregnancy are common, pathologic anxiety may occur in certain women.
Approximately 6% of pregnant women and 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety. (*)
However, the diagnostical and statistical manual of mental disorders doesn’t include a diagnosis for postpartum anxiety.
Postpartum anxiety (PPA) is comparable to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which is marked by excessive worry.
Postpartum anxiety is measured by the degree to which it interferes with a woman’s daily functioning and how much distress it causes her.
Postpartum Anxiety Quiz
#1. Do you find yourself constantly worried?
#2. Do you often get the feeling that something bad is going to happen?
#3. Do you struggle with intrusive or racing thoughts?
#4. Do you often feel unable to sit still?
#5. Do you have trouble sleeping or experience sleep disruption, even when your baby is sleeping peacefully?
#6. Do you experience anxious physical symptoms like dizziness, racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea, hot flashes, etc.?
We will not sell your information. All results are kept confidential.
This quiz is for informational purposes only. It is not meant as a diagnostic or assessment tool.
The questions above represent common signs of postpartum anxiety. If you answered yes to most of these questions, then postpartum anxiety may be a problem for you.
Postpartum anxiety occurs along a continuum from mild to severe. It can range from normal worry and anticipation to severe, incapacitating fear.
It is important to address postpartum anxiety as soon as possible because it can affect the mother’s wellbeing as well as her relationship with her child and family.
How Long Is The “Postpartum Period”?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists defines the postpartum experience as the 6 weeks after the birth of a baby.
It is thought that it’s the take the reproductive organs take to heal from the pregnancy.
The American Psychiatric Association defines postpartum as the first 4 weeks after the birth of a baby.
However, there is no specific period time for how long postpartum anxiety lasts. It can begin a few months after birth and remain a long-term problem, especially when left unaddressed.
Related: Top 10 Powerful Natural Treatments (+FREE PPD Resources)
Postpartum Anxiety Worksheets
How to Overcome Postpartum Anxiety?
#1. Seek Support
The postpartum mother needs to have a place that is safe and accepting where she can talk about how she feels, how the experience is impacting her, and what she’s going to do to integrate the experience.
It can be helpful to reach out to other women who have been there.
Therapy is also a great resource here. Through therapy, you can learn more about yourself and move forward with new coping strategies.
However, postpartum women do not want to go to therapy. Women who have recently given birth are distracted, and weary from the overwhelming experience.
Online therapy can be a great alternative here.
I recommend Online-Therapy.com for affordable online therapy.
(Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link, which means I receive a commission at no extra cost to you if you choose to use this link. You will get 20% off your first month)
Online support groups are also a great resources.
Find a list of online support groups for postpartum support HERE.
Note: Support groups are not intended to replace therapy or for those experiencing a mental health crisis. Please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or 988 if you are in need of crisis support.
Journaling is a safe place to get all of the overwhelming feelings and thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
If you’re worried someone might read what you write, you may shred the paper after you’re finished. Destroying paper that contains personal thoughts and feelings can be very therapeutic.
- Best 25 Journal Prompts For Self Love And Confidence Building
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#3. Practice Relaxation Exercises
If you had taken childbirth education classes, you may be familiar with relaxation breathing.
Yoga and meditation are also great ways to relax.
#4. Practice Self-Compassion
The concept of self-compassion might sound too touchy-feely, especially if you’ve always been more comfortable taking care of others than of yourself.
Ironically, many people are naturally empathic and supportive toward others, yet are critical and harsh toward themselves.
Kristin Neff, Ph.D. is a pioneer in the study of self-compassion, describes self-compassion as involving three components:
(1) Self-kindness: being kind to oneself in times of suffering,
(2) A sense of common humanity: recognizing that suffering of any kind is an inevitable aspect of the shared human experience, and
(3) Mindfulness: self-compassion entails an objective awareness of one’s own emotions, without being “over-identified” with one’s internal experience.
Neff, points out that unlike self-esteem, self-compassion is not derived from a sense of worthiness. Rather, self-compassion comes from caring about yourself, just as you would someone else.
Self-compassion protects you from feeling inadequate when you fail or suffer.
Use the following journaling prompts to practice self-compassion.
#5. Focus on Being Good Enough
One major trigger of postpartum anxiety is the belief of inadequacy, that “I’m doing it wrong,” and that “I’m the worst mother in the world.”
Paediatrician Donald Winnicott introduced the concept of ‘good enough’ in the 1950s. He said:
‘The good-enough mother … starts off with an almost complete adaptation to her infant’s needs, and as time proceeds she adapts less and less completely, gradually, according to the infant’s growing ability to deal with her failure.” (*)
Winnicott suggested that no child needs the perfect parent. They just need a decent, good-intentioned parent who loves them limitlessly.
Good enough doesn’t mean mediocrity or merely good.
Good enough means that, all things considered, there are enough benefits and no critical problems.
Often women suffer in silence for weeks, sometimes months, before they seek help for their postpartum anxiety or depression.
They live with the hope that the symptoms will go away over time.
Left unaddressed, these symptoms may worsen and lead to feelings of shame and low self-esteem. This can negatively affect the mother’s wellbeing as well as her relationships with her baby and other people.
- Portions of this article were adapted from the book Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders: A Clinician’s Guide, © 2005 by Cheryl Tatano Beck. All rights reserved.
- Portions of this article were adapted from the book The Art of Holding in Therapy: An Essential Intervention for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, © 2017 by Karen Kleiman. All rights reserved.
- Portions of this article were adapted from the book The Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety Workbook, © 2009 by Kevin L. Gyoerkoe and Pamela Wiegartz. All rights reserved.
- Postpartum Anxiety: Symptoms, Treatment, Causes, and More (healthline.com)
- Postpartum anxiety is invisible, but common and treatable – Harvard Health
- This Is What Postpartum Anxiety Feels Like – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
- Postpartum Anxiety Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options (parents.com)
- Women’s experiences with postpartum anxiety disorders: a narrative literature review – PMC (nih.gov)
- Anxiety During Pregnancy and Postpartum: Course, Predictors and Comorbidity with Postpartum Depression – PMC (nih.gov)
- Frontiers | Prevalence of Maternal Postnatal Anxiety and Its Association With Demographic and Socioeconomic Factors: A Multicentre Study in Italy (frontiersin.org)