Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health

Pregnancy can be a period of emotional well-being, but for some women it can be just the opposite: studies show that depression is one of the most common complications of pregnancy. Women with pre-existing psychiatric disorders are at particular risk of relapsing during pregnancy or postpartum. Family history of depression, poor social support, and unplanned or unwanted pregnancy are also risk factors for depression during pregnancy.

If you have already been treated for a psychiatric disorder or feel that you are at risk for developing one, consultation with a licensed psychologist who specializes in reproductive women’s mental health can advise you about diagnosis and treatment both during and after your pregnancy.

The postpartum period (after pregnancy) is another time when women are vulnerable to depression and/or relapse of previous psychiatric illness. Although many women experience passing feelings of “baby blues” in the 3-14 days after giving birth, about 10 to 20 percent of women become clinically depressed during this period. A common symptom of postpartum depression is anxiety. Women may worry that they are not doing a good enough job in caring for the baby. These symptoms can worsen to the point of impairing a woman’s ability to care for herself or the baby. A specially trained psychologist can help a woman manage these symptoms.


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