Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano, County Legislators and Winthrop University Hospital today proclaimed May as Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Awareness Month in Nassau County. As we celebrate Mother’s Day in May, this proclamation seeks to raise awareness of the challenges that many new mothers face as a result of experiencing a perinatal mood disorder and anxiety disorder (PMAD).
“I am proud of the outstanding work and the continuing efforts of the Nassau County Perinatal Services Network in raising awareness of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders,” said County Executive Mangano. “Together, we illuminate in purple the dome of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building to support new mothers and their families and to promote public awareness of this serious disorder.”
PMAD is the most common complication of pregnancy, affecting one in every 8 to 10 women during the perinatal period, which includes the entire period of pregnancy up to one year after delivery. This major public health concern affects at least 3,500 families in Nassau County.
Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves stated, “The more we know about this disorder, the more we can help the women afflicted with it. I encourage any mom suffering with these symptoms to seek help and to share her story with others.”
“Depression is the most underdiagnosed obstetric complication in the United States, and it’s much more common than other pregnancy-related health problems such as gestational diabetes,” said Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran. “The good news is 90% of women who have perinatal depression can be treated successfully. The help is there – you just have to ask for it.”
While the exact cause is unknown, contributing factors may be biological, psychological, or hormonal. Family and friends can play an important role by recognizing the warning signs of PMAD, providing support and helping the woman to seek help. The warning signs may differ among women but common symptoms include the following:
• Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
• Changes in appetite
• Feeling irritable, angry or nervous
• Feeling exhausted
• Not enjoying life as much as in the past
• Lack of interest in the baby
• Lack of interest in friends and family
• Feeling guilty or worthless
• Feeling hopeless
• Crying uncontrollably
• Feelings of being a bad mother
• Trouble concentrating
• Thoughts of harming the baby or harming herself
In May 2012, the Nassau County Perinatal Services Network launched the “Ask the Question” campaign. The “Ask the Question” campaign encourages those who are in contact with a new Mom to ask how they are doing, how they are coping….giving the new mom permission to say they need help, to give them hope and to let them know they are not alone. The overall goal is to create a safety net by working together with healthcare providers to improve the recognition and connect with treatment options.
Help is available for all women in Nassau County. For additional information on PMAD or the “Ask the Question” campaign, call the Nassau County Department of Health Perinatal Services Network at (516) 227-9422 or visit their website at http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Health/mom_babies.html.