Taking Care of Baby … and Mom: Maternal Mental Health in the "Fourth Trimester"
As we settle into the spring season and enjoy a time of new beginnings, growth and restoration, may it also be a reminder to bringing awareness to our mental health and self-care.
May is Mental Health Awareness month; and the internet and social media have covered thousands of stories from different women who have experienced post-partum depression. This brings awareness and hope to new moms everywhere because you too are not alone!
According to the CDC, post-partum depression and anxiety are common disorders that affect 1 in 7 women, but only a small number of women will seek treatment. You do not have to have a history of depression to experience post-partum depression or anxiety. Symptoms can appear any time during pregnancy and the first 12 months after childbirth. Symptoms may include feeling sadness, guilt, irritability, inadequacy, or difficulty connecting with your baby; and these symptoms can range in severity.
Regardless of clinical presentation, every woman should be assessed for depression in the post-partum period. Women are encouraged to speak to your certified PA or another healthcare provider about exactly how you are feeling. There are effective research-based treatment options available to help women recover.
If at any point you have thoughts of harming yourself or baby, please call 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE to receive immediate care. Here are a few resources for women in the perinatal and post-partum period to help guide you with more support through this journey.
- Alexis Joy D’Achille Center for Perinatal Mental Health
- Social Media: Knowing you are not alone is very important to healing through this process. Use #mywishformoms on Instagram to find women from all over the world who are telling their stories.
- Postpartum Support International: Includes great patient and provider resources
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Depression Among Women: https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/depression/index.htm
- National Institute of Mental Health, Perinatal Depression: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/postpartum-depression-facts/index.shtml
- Psych Congress Network, Counseling Interventions Can Prevent Perinatal Depression: https://www.psychcongress.com/article/counseling-interventions-can-prevent-perinatal-depression