Perinatal Mental Health: A Brief Q & A

If you’ve heard the phrase perinatal mental health and not been sure what that means, you are not alone.    This post will provide a brief overview of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.  It is a quick read with links to more information, if needed.   Please take a few minutes to check it out, especially if you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling.

What is a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder?
A perinatal mood or anxiety disorder is one that emerges during pregnancy or within the first 12 months after childbirth.

While it is believed that 80% of new mothers experience the “baby blues,” the symptoms of a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder are more severe and last longer.

  • 15-20% of women experience significant symptoms of depression or anxiety after childbirth.
  • Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders affect women of all ages and backgrounds.
  • New fathers can also experience depression or anxiety.

What does a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder look like?
There are a variety of perinatal mood or anxiety disorders and they all look a little different. Examples include; prenatal or postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD and postpartum post traumatic stress.

Symptoms of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders May Include:
• Frequent sad feeling, crying or feelings of hopelessness
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Frequently feeling worried or fearful
• Anger or irritability
• Changes in your appetite-eating too much or too little
• Difficulty sleeping or feeling like you are sleeping too much
• Feelings of guilt
• Difficulty connecting with your baby or other loved ones

Read more about prenatal and postpartum depression here.

Read more about postpartum anxiety here.

Read more about Perinatal Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder here.

Read more about Bipolar Mood Disorders and Postpartum Psychosis here.
What type of treatment is available?
Perinatal mood disorders often respond well to treatment. Treatment options may include individual therapy, couples therapy, medication and more. If you suspect that you or a loved one are experiencing a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder it is best to contact a trained mental health professional in order to complete an evaluation and determine which treatment options are best for you.

If you would like to read more about about the types of therapy services I offer for new and expecting parents in the south metro please click here.  You may also email me at or call me at 952-457-2322.

If you are looking for treatment options outside of Minnesota, please visit the Postpartum Support International website.

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