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  • Dr. Nadia Fakhoury

PMADs; More than Postpartum Depression

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

In the United States alone, nearly 11,000 babies are born each day. Becoming a parent is an overwhelmingly prevalent experience yet we often see a lack of robust health care resources for the prenatal and postpartum period.

In a video conference, Los Angeles mobile chiropractor Dr. Nadia Fakhoury sat down with psychotherapist and postpartum specialist, Molly Nourmand, to unpack the uniquely beautiful yet challenging life experience that is the childbearing process.

The Developmental Passage of Parenthood

We have historically seen parenthood painted through the lens of joy and bliss - and while it can be - we’re slowly watching the narrative shift to acknowledge how the path to parenthood is often anything but linear. One factor we overlook is the idea of “matrescence.” Clinical psychologist Arielie Athan defines matrescence as the developmental passage where a person transitions through pre-conception, pregnancy and birth, surrogacy or adoption, to the postnatal period and beyond. She proclaims that this process is so biologically, psychologically, socially, politically and spiritually profound, it can be likened to the developmental push of adolescence.

Due to this deeply intense shift in self, perinatal people can be particularly vulnerable to mood disorders. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders, known as PMADs, is the term used to define the range of emotional and physical symptoms commonly experienced by chlidbearing people. PMADS includes postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, OCD and psychosis.

Knowing the Risk Factors

It is estimated that nearly 1 in 5 childbearing people worldwide experience some form of PMADs. Unfortunately, this number has only increased since the onslaught of COVID-19. According to the Los Angeles Times, The Maternal Outpatient Mental Health Services program at UCLA has seen a 30% increase in postpartum depression cases since the pandemic started. The article also noted that Black and Latina women are almost twice as likely to experience prenatal symptoms of depression compared to white and Asian/Pacific Islander women.

While this list is not exhaustive, knowing the risk factors for PMADs can help childbearing people better prepare for life postpartum:

  • Personal or family history of PMADs

  • History of anxiety or depression

  • Fertility treatments

  • Lack of support from partner/family

  • Severe premenstrual syndrome

  • Pregnancy and birth complications

Supporting Perinatal People Experiencing PMADs

At Cocoon Chiropractic, we believe not only in the physical but also emotional healing potential of chiropractic care. We also believe in the power of team - especially prenatal, birth and postpartum teams. We want perinatal people to feel their best and we know supporting them often requires a network of practitioners.

A study published in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research found support for chiropractic care as a complementary treatment strategy for depression and anxiety. Chiropractic care helps improve the neural regulation of the heart, lungs, kidneys, spleen, intestines and the nerve system, which controls our immune system. When all of these components are functioning better, we can see improvements in energy levels and mood.

While chiropractic care has been shown to improve mood disorders, we believe it is not a replacement for mental health counseling. We recommend seeking a therapist such as Molly Nourmand, who has sought additional training pertaining specifically to the perinatal period.

If you are a perinatal person feeling anxious, sad, hopeless or overwhelmed, please know you are not alone. The transition to parenthood - or the birth of additional children - is a unique transition that can give way to mood disorders. We are here to support you through your process because we know new parents need just as much care as newborns.

Click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nadia.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please contact 1-800-273-8255.

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