Maternal Mental Health

Mental Health During Pregnancy


While pregnancy often elicits many positive emotions,  it can also cause a woman to experience negative  thoughts and feelings. During pregnancy, past family  issues, insecurities, relationship difficulties, and  financial issues can become real and immediate  concerns. A woman who is expecting may find herself  experiencing mood swings, fear, anxiety, forgetfulness,  or body image issues. Women who experienced depression or anxiety before becoming pregnant may  be more likely to experience mental health concerns  during pregnancy. When mental health conditions do  occur, counseling can be an effective tool for  decreasing symptoms during pregnancy as  well as prepare you for a healthy postpartum period.


Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Approximately 15% of mothers develop Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, or Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Unlike the “baby blues”, these feelings intensify with time and may not go away on their own. Postpartum Anxiety can be especially difficult to pinpoint in the year following birth.

Fathers can also struggle greatly with the transition to parenthood. Your symptoms may be similar to moms or manifest in different ways. It is important to address dad’s feelings and mental health at this big time of change as well. I have experience working with men on this issue and can be a safe place to open up about concerns.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, please know professional counseling can help :

  • Frequent irritability
  • Recurrent and regular crying spells
  • Recurrent angry outbursts
  • Excessive worrying
  • Severe fatigue
  • Obsessing over the baby in spite of reassurances
  • Not wanting to be with your baby
  • Flashbacks of traumatic childbirth or other traumas
  • Feelings of inadequacy as a mother
  • Feeling overwhelmed, hopeless or depressed
  • Fears of harming yourself or the baby
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities

Intrusive & Scary Thoughts

In 3-9% of new mothers, intrusive thoughts are a symptom of a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder and may cause extreme fear, anxiety, and self-doubt. Intrusive or scary thoughts are not a sign of psychosis. A mother's or father's distress about these thoughts is a good sign. ALL women who report having intrusive thoughts should be referred to a mental health provider for proper assessment and treatment. This is a very treatable symptom

You Are Not To Blame

If you are having problems, you have probably asked yourself many times, “Why Me?”  The most important thing to remember is that this is not your fault. The causes of postpartum difficulties are varied and complex and include biological changes, psychological influences, and relationship factors. It may be a combination of all three affecting you at once.

Seek Support & Help

If it has been at least 2-4 weeks since you had your baby, and your problems are getting worse, you may want to seek additional help. I specialize in Postpartum Adjustment. My approach combines support, education, and a mind/body approach to counseling that is effective and restoring. I often work with women and their partners in the recovery process because postpartum difficulties affect the whole family.

Help & Hope Are Right Here

I offer a free-no-obligation initial consult to get you started taking care of YOU.