Maternal Mental Health

What is Postpartum Depression?

  • Maternal Mental Health Disorders are the number one complication of pregnancy.
  • “Postpartum Depression” (PPD) is a general term describing many different types of difficulties that women may experience after birth, not just what looks like typical depression.
  • PPD symptoms may look more like anxiety than depression.
  • Symptoms can be mild to severe and can begin at any point during pregnancy, or after giving birth, even through the first year or longer.
  • At least 10-20% of women experience some degree of PPD.

Common symptoms of PPD

  • Sadness or tearfulness
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Irritability or anger
  • Loss of interest
  • Problems with eating or sleeping
  • Upsetting thoughts that are difficult to control
  • Feeling out of control
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Regretting becoming a mother
  • Worry regarding harming yourself or your baby

Risk Factors for PPD

  • Previous depression/anxiety, other emotional concerns
  • Family history of depression/anxiety, mental illness
  • High stress/low support situation during or after pregnancy
  • Difficulties in relationship with significant other
  • First time motherhood, very young motherhood, older motherhood
  • Difficult pregnancy/birth, distressing birth experience
  • Having a high needs baby that cries more than usual, is hard to comfort
  • Baby with special needs

When to seek professional help

  • If symptoms are getting in the way of daily functioning causing distress, worry, relationship problems, or worsening or not getting better.
  • Seek treatment at the first signs; symptoms can worsen without treatment.
  • It is appropriate to meet with a psychologist even if you are not sure if you are experiencing PPD. It is their job to help you identify what is going on for you and ways you can address it
  • Many women who are at risk meet with a psychologist early in pregnancy to find out how to identify PPD symptoms, decrease their risk for PPD, and know how to address PPD if symptoms begin.
  • The nature of PPD makes it especially difficult for women to talk about it and ask for help when they are already in the middle of it.

Services offered

  • Perinatal anxiety and depression
  • Postpartum depression and anxiety
  • Pregnancy after previous postpartum depression
  • Fertility challenges
  • Pregnancy after fertility struggles
  • Pregnancy loss/miscarriage/stillbirth/infant loss
  • Pregnancy termination
  • Body image issues related to pregnancy and postpartum
  • Traumatic pregnancy or birth experience
  • Pregnancy/motherhood ambivalence
  • Transitions in motherhood