In this informal, three-part series about postpartum disorders, we’ve taken a look at postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, and postpartum OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. In today’s post, we will be exploring postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder, postpartum psychosis, as well as taking a look at what you can do about it.

The common thread in all of these disorders is the fact that if you, or someone close to you, is affected by some of the symptoms we have described, we want you to know that you are not alone. Mothers dealing with these disorders who want to seek wellness need to find support in some way, shape, or form. That can look like a lot of different things, and we aren’t advocating a singular way to go about it. We do know that telling your partner or family members close to you is a great start toward addressing the cause of the symptoms. If therapy is the next appropriate step, please understand that you have resources available to you at Deanna D. Midwifery, where we have primary care, gynecological care, family planning counseling, and other childbirth assistance and services. You can schedule a consultation here and learn more about our midwife services here.

Now that we’ve established that important baseline, let’s take a closer look at PPTSD and PPP.

Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder, or PPTSD, most commonly affects mothers who experienced either perceived or actual trauma during labor and delivery or directly after childbirth. Authorities in the field approximate that one to six percent of postpartum mothers have to deal with postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder after having given birth.

Traumatic experiences that might lead to someone having symptoms of PPTSD include the following.

  • The newborn baby needing to stay in NICU
  • A lack of support during pregnancy and delivery
  • A lack of appropriate communication from the delivery team
  • A pervasive feeling of lack of control or powerlessness
  • Having an unanticipated Cesarean
  • Emergency complications

Symptoms of PPTSD include some of the following.

  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Nightmares or flashbacks
  • Re-experiencing past traumatic events
  • The avoidance of certain places, people, noises, that have to do with the traumatic event

As is the case with any postpartum disorder that you might be experiencing, we want you to feel empowered to seek help from a healthcare provider about what you are feeling. A certified midwife or WHNP can help you determine the next steps toward conquering this temporary experience.

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis, or PPP, is the extreme form of PPD, or postpartum depression. It is extremely rare, as right around one or two people out of every thousand are diagnosed with PPP. It typically rears its head quickly, right around two or three weeks after delivery. Symptoms of PPP are severe, and include suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, bizarre behavior, delusions, hyperactivity, and even thoughts of hurting the baby.

You should know that PPP is considered a medical emergency, so if you or someone you know is experiencing these kinds of symptoms, seek immediate professional help.

If you are in need of a certified midwife or WHNP in the Tri-Cities, reach out to Deanna D. Midwifery, today, the midwife clinic of the Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland!