You’ve probably heard of postpartum depression. But what about postpartum anxiety? Studies show that the condition, defined by excessive worry in the six months after delivery, may be more common than postpartum depression—yet it often goes undiagnosed. What Is Postpartum Anxiety? There are many types of anxiety disorders new mothers can experience. They include social phobia (fear of social situations), panic disorder (recurring panic attacks), and others. A common type of anxiety in new mothers is generalized anxiety disorder. Studies show that about 7% of new mothers have symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder six months after childbirth. The major symptom of generalized anxiety disorder is excessive worry or fear, accompanied by physical symptoms. These physical symptoms may include sleep problems or tense muscles. Feeling panicky and restless are other key symptoms of postpartum anxiety disorders. Anxiety: What’s Normal—and What’s Not Some anxiety is completely normal when you have a new baby. Parents commonly worry about their child’s safety, for instance. But anxiety becomes a problem if it interferes with how you function in everyday life or as a caretaker for your young one. For example, if you can’t sleep even when your newborn is snoozing because you’re afraid something might happen, you may have an anxiety problem. Common fears of parents with generalized anxiety disorder include excessive worry about: Bad parenting Body image Criticism about one’s parenting abilities Kidnapping Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) Anxiety vs. Depression: What’s the Difference? Anxiety and depression are different but related conditions. In one study of more than 4,400 new mothers, one-third of women with anxiety symptoms also experienced depression. Mental symptoms of anxiety typically include: Avoiding situations because of fear or worry Excessive worry, even when you realize your fears are unfounded Trouble relaxing These are often accompanied by physical symptoms including: Achy or tense muscles Fatigue Feeling out of breath Headaches Hot flashes Light-headedness Nausea Sweating Twitching or trembling Depression, on the other hand, is characterized by: Feeling hopeless, sad, worthless or guilty Frequent crying spells Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy Low energy Trouble concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions Tell your doctor if you have any of these anxiety or depression symptoms for two or more weeks. Your doctor will help you understand what you’re experiencing and give you an appropriate diagnosis. Finding Help for Postpartum Anxiety If you are experiencing postpartum anxiety, find someone you can confide in. Talk therapy may be helpful for postpartum anxiety, studies show. Medication may also help relieve symptoms. Talk with your doctor if anxiety is affecting your life. The earlier you get help, the sooner you’ll feel like yourself again.