Perinatal Mood Disorders

The CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 7 women will experience a perinatal mood disorder and this is only an estimate because these are women who have self-reported; post-partum depression isn’t always routinely screened for, so in reality, this number is likely much higher.

Perinatal mood disorders is one of the most common and most under-discussed mood disorders.  “Perinatal mood disorder” is a term that encompasses postpartum depression, prenatal depression and anxiety, postpartum OCD, postpartum anxiety, postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder, and postpartum psychosis. This is important to note because many people often think postpartum depression is the only mental health disorder that can happen around pregnancy and that it looks a certain way, but symptoms are quite varied and anxiety is very common.

There are enormous hormonal and social changes that happen during pregnancy and after childbirth. Not to mention that 1 in 3 women report that their birth itself was traumatic in some way.  The combination of these factors coupled with the lack of systemic and social support in our culture further contributes to perinatal mood disorders. There is also an enormous stigma around perinatal mood disorders as women feel like this should be the happiest time of their life or fear that they will have their children taken from them if they seek help; that somehow they have failed as a mother if they feel this way.

The truth is that perinatal mood disorders can be very serious and life-threatening, and they are also temporary and treatable. Asking for help is the first step.  While I have experience helping women with perinatal mood disorders, I always do so in conjunction with a licensed counselor and highly recommend this team approach to care for the best possible outcome.

If you are wondering if you are experiencing a perinatal mood disorder, take this quiz and share the results with your medical provider:

Here are some providers in our area who have expertise in perinatal mood disorders:

If you are not in the Sacramento area check out this provider database and get the help you need:

If we can be of any assistance, please call our office at 916.351.9355 or email us at