Table of Contents
Most glossary items are related to mental and postpartum health.
BABY BLUES: A short-term depression right after childbirth.
Baby blues is a mild depression that only lasts two to three weeks. Postpartum Support MN estimates that nearly 80% of new moms experience mood swings and sadness in the first few weeks after birth. Experts believe the drastic hormone adjustment postpartum is the cause of baby blues, and most doctors won’t offer treatment until two weeks have passed.
It’s important to monitor these symptoms, but they should lighten and/or disappear without any medical assistance within 3 weeks. Plenty of sleep, asking for help, and maintaining a healthy diet can help symptoms go away more quickly.
If symptoms persist or get worse, you could be suffering from a postpartum mood disorder.
BIPOLAR II (BIPOLAR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER): A mental condition characterized by extreme mood swings.
Intense mania and long depressive episodes can indicate Bipolar II. Bipolar II is not a milder form of bipolar I, but a separate condition.
These highs and lows can cause irrational or reckless behavior, impaired judgment, sleep issues, and extreme depression that could trigger thoughts of self-harm.
Bipolar disorders need a formal diagnosis. There are many treatments options available, such as mood stabilizers and antidepressants. For more information, visit MedicalNewsToday.com and MayoClinic.org.
DILATION AND CURETTAGE (D&C): A procedure to remove uterine tissue.
D&Cs are used to diagnose and treat uterine conditions and are most commonly used following a miscarriage after 10 weeks. A doctor uses a small device to open the cervix, and then removes uterine tissue with a curette.
According to MayoClinic.org, a D&C can be recommended for abnormal bleeding or the discovery of abnormal endometrial cells, as well as the removal of a molar pregnancy or polyps. Learn more HERE.
FIBROMYALGIA: A neurological health condition that causes widespread bodily pain.
According to Rheumatology.org, “fibromyalgia is not from an autoimmune, inflammation, joint, or muscle disorder.” Its causes are unknown, though factors such as genetics, physical or emotional trauma, or other illnesses can play a part in triggering it.
The pain that fibromyalgia causes can affect all areas of life, thus making sleep, work, exercise, and many daily activities excruciating. Though not currently curable, there are treatments available for those suffering from pain. Visit MayoClinic.org for more information, or talk to your doctor.
INTRAUTERINE GROWTH RESTRICTION (IUGR): A condition in which an unborn baby is not growing at the expected rate.
Also called small for gestational age (SGA) or fetal growth restriction, these babies have an estimated weight below the 10th percentile. IUGR can be caused by maternal-related factors (diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, etc), baby-related factors (birth defects, genetic abnormalities, infections, etc), or placenta/uterine-related factors (size of the placenta, abnormal blood flow, uterine fibroids, etc), according to Children’s Minnesota.
MISCARRIAGE: A type of pregnancy loss that occurs within the first 20 weeks of gestation.
The most common form of pregnancy loss, the causes of miscarriages are often unknown and difficult to identify. Miscarriages occur in 10-25% of all recognized pregnancies, with the majority of losses happening in the first 13 weeks.
Symptoms include cramping, contractions, and bleeding. Visit AmericanPregnancy.org for more information and resources.
NEONATAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT (NICU): A hospital nursery with specialty care for premature or sick babies.
Babies born before 37 weeks are usually admitted to the NICU for assistance with feeding and breathing. The March of Dimes also lists additional reasons a baby could be admitted to the NICU, including anemia, pneumonia, heart valve abnormalities, and jaundice.
Complications in pregnancy and delivery (hypertension, diabetes, bleeding, breech delivery, birth asphyxia, etc) can also increase the chances of a baby needing specialty care, according to Stanford Children’s Health. Specially trained medical experts and high-tech equipment give high-risk babies a better chance for a healthy, successful life.
PEDIATRIC INTENSIVE CARE UNIT (PICU): A hospital specialty care department dedicated to infants and children.
According to KidsHealth.org, “Any child who’s seriously ill and needs intensive care and whose medical needs can’t be met on the hospital’s main medical floors goes to the PICU.”
Though similar to the NICU, the PICU often sees a wide variety of illnesses from kids of all ages (usually up to age 17 or 21, depending on the hospital), including kidney failure, brain tumors, cancer, epilepsy, immune disorders, near-drowning, and sleep apnea (SeattleChildrens.org).
PERINATAL MOOD AND ANXIETY DISORDERS (PMAD): The technical name for the mood disorders associated with pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Once considered “postpartum depression,” the acronym PMAD now encompasses a range of disorders from pregnancy through the postpartum period. Though treatment is still often the same or similar, medical professionals are becoming more educated on disorders such as postpartum anxiety, perinatal OCD, and postpartum psychosis.
PERINATAL OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (PERINATAL OCD): A form of obsessive-compulsive disorder that can present during pregnancy or postpartum.
According to Postpartum.net, “Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed of the perinatal disorders.”
Symptoms include obsessions, disturbing and obtrusive thoughts, compulsions, and extreme fear of any harm befalling infant. For example, a mother could have an over-attachment to the child or be highly concerned with health and development.
Treatments often include medication or counseling, specifically cognitive behavior therapy. More information can be found HERE.
POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS): A female hormone disorder.
According to WomensHealth.org, PCOS affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age and is the most common cause of female infertility.
The cause of PCOS is unknown, but it’s suspected that genetics and environmental factors could play a part in hormonal disruption.
Symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, sleep problems, infertility, unwanted hair growth, acne, and weight gain.
Treatment is varied, and the PCOS Awareness Association recognizes that a healthy diet and 5% weight loss can regulate ovulation and periods. Other treatment could include birth control, fertility drugs, and metaformin.
POSTPARTUM ANXIETY (PPA): A form of anxiety during pregnancy or after childbirth.
Often misdiagnosed as postpartum depression (and very similar to Perinatal OCD), postpartum anxiety can be experienced with PPD or alone.
Symptoms of PPA include disturbed sleep, constant worry, inability to sit still, and irritability. Treatment is similar to that of postpartum depression.
Parents.com says “If you’re feeling overwhelmed with worry, tell your ob-gyn or pediatrician and ask for a referral to a therapist who has experience with perinatal mood disorders or a psychologist who specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).”
POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION (PPD): A form of intense depression following childbirth.
According to WebMD, “This is a severe form of clinical depression related to pregnancy and childbirth.” Moms with PPD experience anxiety, extreme sadness, exhaustion, lack of interest in activities, and feelings of isolation or anger. Lack of sleep, hormone changes, and a past history of depression can all play a role in PPD.
POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS: A very severe form of postpartum depression.
Postpartum psychosis is a rare, but very serious form of mental illness. Symptoms are similar to that of PPD, but more intense, and often present during the first 2 weeks after giving birth.
Symptoms can include hallucinations, hyperactivity, severe mood swings, and paranoia. Postpartum psychosis is a medical emergency but is temporary and treatable with help. However, if you suspect you are suffering from this illness, please contact 911 or go to the emergency room. Find more information and help HERE.
PREECLAMPSIA: A pregnancy disorder that can affect both mom and baby.
High blood pressure is usually the identifying symptom of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy, and symptoms include water retention, protein in urine, headaches, vomiting, and blurred vision.
Depending on the level of severity, doctors may advise rest and drinking water, prescribe blood pressure medicine, or an early delivery (AmericanPregnancy.org). Check out Preeclampsia.org for information about preeclampsia’s effects on the baby.