There are many names for the mental health issues that women experience both during pregnancy and postpartum. The clinical term is “perinatal mood disorders.” We like to use the broad term “maternal mental health” because most people know what that means.
In our society we often use the term “postpartum depression,” but that does not encompass the other disorders that women can experience during pregnancy and postpartum. An example would be anxiety or bipolar disorder. Many of these disorders that women experience are not talked about and there are many reasons why.
What if Pregnancy or Being a New Mom Isn’t What You Thought It Would Be?
Society tells women that having a baby should be the “happiest time of your life.” So when it is not, women are afraid to admit it. Women are afraid to tell others they are having “scary thoughts” because they don’t want anyone thinking they aren’t capable of taking care of their infant. There are many reasons why women don’t seek help and these are just a few.
Fortunately, healthcare providers are realizing how important it is to screen women for mental health issues in pregnancy and postpartum. Here in Lancaster County, the largest hospital that delivers babies will begin screening women at the time of discharge for postpartum depression. Other pediatrician offices have told me they plan to also screen mothers who are bringing in their newborns for well visits.
Where Can You Go For Help?
We hope to be a valuable resource for women experiencing maternal mental health disorders. We will provide therapy and work collaboratively with the woman’s doctor to make sure she is receiving the best care she can to get better. Read this blog post about our journey to offering this specialty.
The best practice for working with women who are experiencing a perinatal mood disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. These are two types of therapy we are well versed in. We also went through specialized training to work with women in pregnancy and postpartum.
If you have more questions about our therapy services for women experiencing a maternal mental health issue, please contact us.