Coronavirus pandemic blamed for increase in postpartum depression, anxiety in new mothers

Mental health expert says mothers need to know it’s OK to ask for help

SAN ANTONIO – Arlene Serrano openly talks about her postpartum depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to break the stigma and help other moms find help during the coronavirus pandemic.

Serrano says there were clues that she was not OK during her third trimester of pregnancy, but she attributed it to other factors.

“During my first trimester, I started feeling really worried that I was not going to be there for my baby, that I was going to die during childbirth. And this was not all the time,” she said.

After Serrano’s child was born, the new mother said she was still not OK, so she started trying to determine why.

“Things were not going well with me, and I was just so worried, and I felt so inadequate,” she said.

Maria Zeitz, perinatal mood and anxiety counselor for Methodist Healthcare System, says the pandemic has impacted new mothers’ mental health.

“We’re all happy about this baby, but I’m feeling sad, or I’m feeling this irritability, anger, maybe even some rage called postpartum rage,” Zeitz said, referring to what mothers tell her.

Symptoms can go from mild to moderate to extreme, which could include dark thoughts. (See web extra video explanation below.)

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