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Maternal & Postpartum Anxiety

Maternal and postpartum anxiety encapsulates a spectrum of heightened anxiety and emotional distress experienced by mothers during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.

What is Maternal & Postpartum Anxiety?

Maternal and postpartum anxiety encapsulates a spectrum of heightened anxiety and emotional distress experienced by mothers during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. While postpartum depression has garnered more attention, anxiety disorders can significantly impact maternal mental health, sometimes in conjunction with or independent of depressive symptoms. Expectant and new mothers may grapple with overwhelming worry, fear, and intrusive thoughts that extend beyond typical concerns. These anxieties can revolve around the well-being of the baby, fears of inadequacy in parenting, or apprehensions about the future.

During pregnancy, maternal anxiety might manifest in concerns about the health and development of the unborn child, the birthing process, or adjustments to parenthood. Postpartum anxiety often intensifies these worries, encompassing fears of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the baby’s health, or the mother’s ability to meet the demands of motherhood. These anxieties can lead to physical symptoms such as sleep disturbances, restlessness, or changes in appetite.

Treatment for Maternal & Postpartum Anxiety

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

At Light On Anxiety, we understand the unique challenges faced by mothers experiencing anxiety during and after pregnancy, and our specialized therapists are trained to provide compassionate and effective care.

CBT for maternal and postpartum anxiety entails:

  • Learning to identify and challenge negative thought patterns related to motherhood and parenting.
  • Developing healthier coping strategies.
  • Addressing underlying fears and worries.
  • Confronting anxiety-provoking situations or triggers related to motherhood, such as fears of harm to the baby or concerns about one’s ability to cope.

Through evidence-based therapy and personalized support, we empower mothers to manage their anxiety, strengthen their bond with their baby, and navigate the challenges of parenthood with confidence and resilience.


At Light On Anxiety, our team of psychiatric providers collaborates closely with clients to assess their unique needs and develop personalized medication regimens. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are commonly prescribed to target symptoms of anxiety and depression that may occur during pregnancy or after childbirth. Other medications, may also be used in certain cases to provide short-term relief or address specific symptoms.

Our approach to medication management prioritizes safety, efficacy, and collaboration with clients to ensure they receive the most appropriate treatment for their symptoms while minimizing risks to themselves and their baby.

Integrating CBT + Medication

At Light On Anxiety, we offer integrated treatment plans that combine evidence-based CBT therapy with medication management to address both the psychological and physiological aspects of anxiety during and after pregnancy. Our therapists and psychiatric providers work closely together to tailor treatment plans to each individual’s needs and preferences, taking into account factors such as medication safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

  • Therapy helps mothers develop coping skills, challenge negative thoughts, and engage in exposure exercises through ERP.
  • Medication can provide additional support by reducing symptoms of anxiety and enhancing the effectiveness of therapy.

Through this combined approach, we empower mothers to overcome maternal and postpartum anxiety, nurture their own well-being, and enjoy the journey of motherhood with confidence and joy.

Your Unique Path to Freedom From Maternal and Postpartum Anxiety 

Our goal is to create a treatment plan that aligns with your needs and preferences, recognizing that each individual’s journey is unique.

What are the symptoms of Maternal & Postpartum Anxiety?

Maternal and postpartum anxiety can manifest in various ways, and symptoms may differ among individuals. Common symptoms include:

Persistent and intense worry about the baby’s health, safety, and well-being.
Unwanted and distressing thoughts or images, often related to harm befalling the baby or fears of inadequacy as a parent.

Physical manifestations of anxiety, such as restlessness, muscle tension, headaches, or digestive issues.

Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restless sleep due to anxious thoughts.

Increased irritability or heightened emotional reactivity, sometimes leading to difficulties in daily interactions.

Changes in eating patterns, including loss of appetite or increased emotional eating.

Persistent fatigue or feelings of exhaustion, even with adequate rest.

Challenges in concentrating, making decisions, or maintaining focus, often due to preoccupation with anxious thoughts.

Experience of physical symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath, or dizziness during anxiety-provoking situations.

Avoidance of situations or activities due to anxiety about perceived threats to the baby’s well-being.

FAQs about Maternal & Postpartum Anxiety

Breastfeeding itself is not a direct cause of postpartum anxiety. However, the challenges and stress associated with breastfeeding, such as difficulties latching, concerns about milk supply, or the physical demands, may contribute to heightened anxiety in some individuals.

Yes, maternal stress during pregnancy can impact the baby. Persistent maternal stress may contribute to potential risks such as preterm birth, low birth weight, and developmental issues.

Maternal anxiety during pregnancy can have notable effects on the fetus. When a pregnant woman experiences chronic stress or anxiety, it may trigger the release of stress hormones, potentially affecting the developing fetus. Research suggests a connection between maternal anxiety and adverse outcomes, including an increased risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and developmental issues. The developing fetal brain and nervous system may also be influenced by the hormonal changes associated with maternal anxiety.

Yes, anxiety is a common component of postpartum depression (PPD). Postpartum depression is not limited to feelings of sadness; it can also involve heightened anxiety, excessive worry, and intrusive thoughts about the baby’s well-being or one’s ability to parent. This combination of depressive and anxious symptoms is often referred to as postpartum anxiety or postpartum depression with anxiety.

More About Treatment for Anxiety

What is CBT & ERP for OCD?

Light On Anxiety CEO Dr Debra Kissen describes how CBT & ERP helps clients move past OCD and other anxiety disorders.

Learn more about how we can create a custom individual treatment plan to fit your goals.

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