TRENTON – Among the babies born in the United States every year, 35 percent are born from the beginning of June through the end of September. For every 8 in 10 births, new mothers will experience at least a brief episode of the “baby blues” – feelings of sadness, anxiety, loneliness, or moodiness – within the first few days of giving birth.
After a couple of weeks these symptoms typically disappear. However, when symptoms persist or deepen in intensity, they may be a sign of postpartum depression or another perinatal mood disorder.
Perinatal mood disorders (PMD) include: anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorders and postpartum depression. The depression may be mild, moderate or severe.
In New Jersey, women have numerous resources available to help them overcome the effects of PMD. These disorders can be serious, but they are highly treatable. Help is available, and it is important that a mother gets the support and treatment needed to recover so that she can enjoy her baby. The first step is to ask for help.
Resources include an informational website, www.njspeakup.gov, which provides a comprehensive list of support groups throughout New Jersey, general advice, fact sheets and written and video testimonials about personal experiences with PMD from women, their partners and other family members. In addition, the 24/7 toll-free telephone helpline – 1-800-328-3838 – helps with general questions and referrals to treatment services, support groups and counseling.
In Union County, women can contact the Gateway Northwest Maternal and Child Health Network at (973) 268-2280 for help.
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