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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Pregnancy and postpartum recovery involve profound changes that affect nearly every aspect of a woman’s life. This chapter reviews the physical, hormonal, and physiological changes that occur in the course of normal pregnancy and the postpartum period. It describes the common symptoms and sensations associated with these changes and their implications in contributing to behavioral changes and psychopathology. It is important for health care providers to realize that, for a majority of women, somatic symptoms and some psychological symptoms represent normal physiological changes. The symptoms and complaints engendered by the changes of pregnancy are, in most cases, the natural consequence of bringing new life into the world. A familiarity with routine pregnancy-related changes will aid the mental health care provider in recognizing when behavioral patterns deviate from what is expected. Such understanding is key to assessing when such symptoms demand treatment and when they only call for reassurance and legitimization.

Keywords: pregnancy, pregnancy symptoms, perinatal physiology, postpartum recovery

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