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Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

You are not alone.
1 in 7 Mothers...
experience depression or anxiety during pregnancy or postpartum with symptoms that last more than two weeks.​

There is help. Together, we can find your way to more peaceful parenting and a healthier you. Schedule your free 15-minute online or phone consultation. We can chat and see if this is something that would be helpful for you. You and your baby deserve for you to be at your best.

 

Schedule your free consultation today.

What are Perinatal Mood Disorders (PMADs)

Many physical and emotional changes occur when we are pregnant and after we give birth and up to 20% of women report:

  • Feel constantly tired

  • Cry often for no apparent reason

  • Feel panicky

  • Worry excessively about her own or the baby’s health

  • Have a lack of feeling for the baby

  • Have difficulty sleeping or eating

  • Have problems concentrating

  • Have frightening thoughts or fantasies

  • Feel an overwhelming sense of loss

Types of PMADs

Postpartum Baby Blues
60-80% of new mothers experience frequent and prolonged crying, anxiety, irritability, poor sleep, quick mood changes and a sense of vulnerability. It usually occurs within the first three days following birth, continues for up to two weeks and resolves on its own.

Postpartum Depression (PPD)
10-20% of new mothers also experience despondency, tearfulness and more intense feelings of inadequacy, guilt, anxiety and fatigue than with baby blues. There may also be physical symptoms such as headaches and rapid heart rate. A lack of feeling for the baby is of special concern. These symptoms can occur anywhere from 2 weeks to more than a year after delivery and usually require the help of a medical professional. 
 
Postpartum PTSD 
Up to 6% of new mothers experience postpartum post traumatic stress disorder resulting from a complicated pregnancy, delivery or NICU stay. 

Postpartum Psychosis 
Up to 0.1% of new mothers experience this serious, but relatively rare disorder, with reactions such as extreme confusion, refusal to eat, delusions, auditory hallucinations, hyperactivity and rapid or irrational speech. Most of these reactions occur within 3-14 days following the birth. Psychosis is serious and requires immediate medical attention and at times medication and hospitalization.

Therapy for Perinatal Mood Disorders (PMADs)

Perinatal mental health counseling is a specialized form of therapeutic intervention designed to address the emotional and psychological challenges that individuals may encounter during the perinatal period, encompassing pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. PMADs encompass a range of mental health conditions, including perinatal depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These conditions can profoundly affect individuals during this critical life stage. Perinatal counseling provides a structured and compassionate environment where individuals can explore their experiences, emotions, and symptoms and develop effective coping strategies. Here is a comprehensive overview of perinatal mental health counseling:

  1. Therapeutic Framework: Counseling for PMADs is grounded in a therapeutic framework that incorporates evidence-based approaches tailored to the unique needs and challenges of the perinatal period. These approaches may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical-behavior therapy (DBT), and interpersonal therapy.

  2. Recognition and Validation: A primary objective of perinatal mental health counseling is to recognize and validate the individual's experiences and emotions during pregnancy and postpartum. This includes acknowledging the range of emotions from joy and excitement to anxiety, sadness, or distress and normalizing the challenges faced.

  3. Symptom Management: Counselors work with individuals to understand and manage the symptoms associated with PMADs, including mood swings, intrusive thoughts, excessive worry, panic attacks, and changes in sleep and appetite.

  4. Support and Coping Strategies: Counseling offers individuals emotional support and equips them with practical coping strategies to navigate the unique stressors of pregnancy and the postpartum period. This can involve developing stress management techniques, self-care practices, and enhancing social support networks.

  5. Partner and Family Involvement: In some cases, perinatal mental health counseling may involve partners or family members to facilitate understanding and support within the family unit.

  6. Goal Setting: Collaboratively, the counselor and the individual establish therapeutic goals, including reducing symptoms, improving overall well-being, enhancing maternal-infant bonding, or addressing any unresolved trauma.

  7. Education: Individuals receive information and education about PMADs, their potential causes, risk factors, and available treatment options. This helps individuals make informed decisions about their mental health care.

  8. Duration and Frequency: The duration and frequency of counseling sessions are determined based on individual needs and progress. Regular sessions provide individuals with a supportive and consistent therapeutic environment.

Perinatal mental health counseling recognizes the unique challenges and vulnerabilities that individuals may face during the perinatal period. It offers a structured, evidence-based approach to support individuals in addressing and managing PMADs, facilitating emotional well-being, and enhancing the overall quality of the perinatal experience. Individuals experiencing PMADs or at risk of developing them are encouraged to seek professional perinatal mental health counseling as a valuable resource for support and healing during this important life transition.

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