Supporting your Perinatal Mental Health and Wellbeing
Pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting bring dramatic changes to your life - and your emotional health.
While it can be an exciting and joyful time, the changes that accompany the perinatal period can also leave you feeling sad, guilty, overwhelmed, irritable, or unable to relax and enjoy your developing relationship with your baby and family.
All these reactions are normal, but they might also be symptoms of a temporary and treatable set of conditions called Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs). Learn more about the signs and symptoms of perinatal mood disorders.
How are PMADs Recognized
Many of us already cope with depression, anxiety, or mood disorders. It's estimated that 1 in 6 people has a mental health condition. Fortunately, these conditions are treatable and manageable.
For some people the perinatal period will be the first time they experience these symptoms. For others, it will be a time when they pay extra special attention to the way their diagnosis manifests.
The screening tool that is used most often for identifying Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) is the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).
Take a Screening for Common Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders
The National Perinatal Association has partnered with Mental Health America to bring you their useful, quick, and easy screening tools.
These short, confidential questionnaires can help you identify what you are feeling and determine whether you might benefit from a range of interventions that have helped others.
A positive score on a screening questionnaire does not mean you have a specific diagnosis. It just gives you an idea of whether or not you have any of the feelings associated with the various conditions.
Because, mental health conditions like:
are common and normal.
They are not a sign of weakness. In fact, understanding your mental health needs and addressing them is a sign of strength and resiliency.
How to use these results:
We know that the prevalence of perinatal mood or anxiety disorders is higher for NICU parents than other parents, due to the stressful experiences that are a normal part of having a baby who needs intensive care.
The feelings you're having are understandable, temporary, and treatable.
Sometimes these symptoms become apparent only AFTER your baby has been discharged from the NICU. In fact, you may not recognize these disturbing feelings until years after your baby has come home with you.
It is important that your uncomfortable feelings be recognized and treated because being depressed, anxious, or distressed can interfere with your relationship with your baby or other members of your family. You owe it to yourself, your baby, and your family to get help if you need it.
You can feel better.
REMEMBER: If you are having any of these feelings, it's ok. It's normal. What you are feeling is temporary and treatable. And YOU ARE NOT ALONE. With help and support, you will feel better. Many of us have felt the way you might be feeling now.
Here are some things that help:
The Warmline messages are returned every day of the week. You are welcome to leave a confidential message any time, and one of the warmline volunteers will return your call as soon as possible. If you are not able to talk when the volunteer calls you, you can arrange another time to connect. The volunteer will give you information, encouragement, and names of resources near you.
Call for yourself or someone you care about; free and confidential; network of more than 140 crisis centers nationwide; available 24/7
A Special Note about Perinatal Substance Use Disorders
Substance use is common among women of reproductive age, but it can be problematic. So it's important to talk about it and ask questions.
Screening, Brief Interventions, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach to the delivery of early intervention and treatment services for people with substance use disorders, as well as those who are at risk of developing these disorders.
The SAMHSA SBIRT page has curricula, online resources, and publications designed to help implement SBIRT initiatives.
Where to Find More Information: