Anxiety a growing issue for new moms

Local News

Postpartum depression has been around for generations, but how it’s screened and treated is now seeing a big change. But the kind of stress today’s mom’s are facing is also changing. 

“When you have a lot of information combined with women who are high achieving and perfectionists, sometimes the mommy guilt is overwhelming,” Avera OBGYN Dr. Kimberlee McKay said.

McKay says the onslaught of information, opinions, products and recommendations, all available with a quick click online, is having a big impact on new mom’s. 

“I think it makes them more stressed out,” McKay said. “Whether it’s car seat choices, breast pump choices, do you get the lactation cookies, how much sleep are you getting, do you pump often enough, are you parenting correctly, do you sleep train them, which sleep training book is the best sleep training book.”

All of it adds up to a lot of weight on moms’ minds. 

“A lot of focus is on postpartum depression, but a big part of this postpartum depression is this anxiety component. There’s specific screens in the postpartum period to pick up on this anxiety piece,” McKay said.

Today healthcare providers are committed to reaching mom’s who may be struggling to let them know help is available.

“Women feel that they should control it, they should be stronger, they should be doing things more right, that doesn’t increase serotonin levels. We know medication can help and connection, having a team of people to support you through counseling or support groups can be very helpful as well,” McKay said. 

It’s support many moms of the past didn’t have available.

“It wasn’t talked about, there was something wrong with her, she’ll figure it out,” McKay said.

While many may generations of mom’s have struggled with depression, McKay says the pressures and anxieties of the past were also different.

“They used to feed them things like carnation instant breakfasts and powdered milk when mom’s couldn’t breastfeed, he [an retired family doctor] always said you know what, little kids are hard to mess up, in general, they’ll thrive. The message we get right now is 100% the opposite,” McKay said.

We’ll continue the conversation on the changing pressures mom’s have faced over the decades by talking with three generations of mom’s in Sunday night’s Eye on KELOLAND. 

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