This is a guest article from SMA Nutrition.
New mums may be dismissing their feelings of anxiety without recognising they could be showing signs of a distinct form of Post Natal Depression, according to new study findings reported by infant nutrition experts SMA Nutrition.
The in-depth study of 300 new mothers revealed that significant numbers experience a form of anxiety that is distinctly different from the commonly recognised Baby Blues – temporary mild emotional symptoms in the early days of motherhood – and the intense longer term or later-onset condition known as Post Natal Depression (PND).
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Dr Cynthia McVey, Psychologist at Glasgow Caledonian University, who was commissioned to conduct the research, argues that the medical profession should acknowledge how anxiety can be a key ‘stepping stone’ that could develop into PND and that the condition may merit its own distinct definition – MAMI (Maternal Anxiety and Mood Imbalance).
Whilst 70% thought they had the Baby Blues, 33% of these were actually shown to be at risk of PND.In other words, it is important to inform mothers that in some cases of PND it is possible to feel very anxious and exhausted and not depressed.
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The study also suggests that formally renaming this separate ‘strand’ of emotional symptoms as MAMI (Maternal Anxiety and Mood Imbalance) not only acknowledges anxiety as a distinct condition which may be a precursor to PND, it is also a warmer term that may help remove the social stigma that prevents many women from seeking professional help.While 90% of respondents would advise other mothers to talk about their concerns with partners, nearly 40% would be reluctant to talk to health professionals and 50% would be reluctant to talk to a GP.
Dr John McGinley, senior brand manager for SMA Nutrition who commissioned the study said; “There is a common assumption that motherhood is a rewarding and positive experience, it is also important to provide support for the women who find it to be the very opposite.By funding this research, we wanted to give voice to women currently suffering in silence and to gain a greater understanding of their experiences”.
In response to the findings, SMA Nutrition teamed up with Alison Wall, Health Visitor, to develop some tips for mums experiencing problems:
Mum Terry Blake, who took part in the study, says; “After the birth of my son my world fell apart and I just couldn’t cope. I really didn’t think I had PND because although I felt a lot of emotions from anger to stress, I did not feel depressed. I was lucky because when I went to see my GP she was fantastic. She listened to me and trusted me to know my own mind and body and she was able to sign me off work to give me time to recover.”
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