What is Postpartum Anxiety?

What is Postpartum Anxiety?
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The journey of motherhood is filled with so many emotions, from joy and excitement to occasional worries and concerns. However, for some new mothers, these worries can intensify and develop into postpartum anxiety. Postpartum anxiety is a common (15-20% of new moms) yet often overlooked condition that can significantly impact a mother’s well-being. In this blog, we will explore the symptoms of postpartum anxiety, shedding light on this important issue and encouraging awareness and support.

1) Excessive Worrying:

One of the hallmark symptoms of postpartum anxiety is persistent and excessive worrying. Mothers may find themselves constantly worrying about their baby’s well-being, even when there is no evidence to suggest any cause for concern. This worrying can extend beyond the baby’s health to other areas of life, such as relationships, work, or personal safety. The worry may feel uncontrollable and overwhelming, interfering with daily functioning and causing significant distress.

2) Racing Thoughts or Intrusive Thoughts:

Postpartum anxiety often manifests as a rapid stream of racing thoughts that can be challenging to manage. The mother’s mind may feel crowded with intrusive thoughts, which are unwelcome and distressing. These thoughts may involve potential worst-case scenarios or irrational fears, such as the baby being harmed or the mother not being able to adequately care for the child. The presence of these thoughts can be distressing and may lead to feelings of guilt and shame. It is important to note that just because a mother has intrusive thoughts does not mean that she will act on them.

3) Physical Symptoms:

Postpartum anxiety can also manifest in various physical symptoms. These may include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, or stomach upset. These physical manifestations often stem from the body’s response to stress and heightened anxiety levels. However, it’s important to note that these symptoms can also be signs of other medical conditions, so it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.

4) Sleep Disturbances:

Sleep disturbances are common during the postpartum period, but in the case of postpartum anxiety, they can become more pronounced. The mother may experience difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep due to racing thoughts or excessive worry. Even when the baby is sleeping soundly, the mother may find it challenging to relax and rest. The lack of quality sleep can further exacerbate anxiety symptoms, leading to a cycle of sleep deprivation and heightened anxiety.

5) Hyperarousal and Restlessness:

Postpartum anxiety can cause a state of hyperarousal, where the mother feels constantly on edge or excessively alert. She may have difficulty relaxing or sitting still, often exhibiting restlessness or fidgeting behaviors. This heightened state of arousal can be exhausting and further contribute to feelings of anxiety and unease.

6) Avoidance Behaviors:

In an attempt to alleviate anxiety, mothers with postpartum anxiety may engage in avoidance behaviors. They may avoid certain situations or places that trigger their anxiety or make them feel particularly vulnerable. This avoidance can limit the mother’s activities, isolate her from support systems, and impact her overall quality of life.

7) Difficulty Concentrating:

Postpartum anxiety can affect concentration and decision-making. The constant worry and/or intrusive thoughts can make it challenging for mothers to focus on tasks or engage in conversations. These symptoms can be frustrating and may exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.


Postpartum anxiety is a real and challenging condition that affects many new mothers. Recognizing the symptoms is crucial for early intervention and support. If you or someone you know is experiencing postpartum anxiety symptoms, seeking professional help is essential. Remember, postpartum anxiety is treatable, and with the right support and treatment, mothers can regain a sense of calm, and well-being, and enjoy their journey through motherhood.

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