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Congratulations on your new baby! Pregnancy and the postpartum period can bring about profound physical, emotional, and hormonal changes, impacting new parents in many different ways. In fact, 1 in 3-5 mothers and 1 in 10 fathers experience a perinatal mental health disorder. Perinatal mental health disorders encompass a range of conditions, from the well-known postpartum depression to anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, and even psychosis. At Hess Psychological Services, we recognize the significance of mental well-being while you traverse the new landscape of parenthood. Our comprehensive treatment approach integrates evidence-based therapies, personalized care plans, and a holistic support system to guide you toward emotional wellness during the perinatal period.

What are Perinatal Mood Disorders?

Perinatal mental health disorders are mental health diagnoses that occur during pregnancy or the first year after childbirth. These disorders include perinatal depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even psychosis. Perinatal mental health disorders are more than just the common “baby blues” many women experience in the first few days following birth. One of the most common perinatal mood disorders is perinatal depression, commonly referred to as postpartum depression, which includes feelings of sadness, guilt, lack of interest in doing anything or even taking care of your baby, and possibly thoughts of self-harm. Post-partum anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder may include feelings of intense worry, fear, or panic, as well as intrusive thoughts- especially related to the health and safety of the baby. Perinatal mental health disorder are caused by myriad factors, including a history of mental illness, complications with pregnancy, labor, or delivery, trauma, relationships issues, stress, or hormonal changes. Perinatal mental health disorders can last several weeks to even a full year and can be very serious. At their worst, perinatal anxiety disorders can lead to isolation and irritability that can affect the close relationships in your life. Postpartum psychosis is considered a medical emergency and should be treated right away in an emergency room

Signs and Symptoms of Perinatal Mood Disorders

Having a baby is a major transition with many changing thoughts and feelings. It might be easy to dismiss your emotions as normal or fleeting, but in some cases, it may be crucial to seek help. Signs and symptoms you may be suffering from a perinatal mental health disorder include:

  • Feelings of sadness, depression, and weepiness.
  • Decreased interest in becoming a parent or caring for your child.
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt.
  • Doubts that you will be a good parent.
  • Strong anxiety, panic, and fear about the health and safety of your child.
  • Sleeping less or more than usual.
  • Thoughts of death and ending your life.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Intrusive thoughts.
  • Low energy.
  • Trouble focusing, remembering things, or making decisions.
  • Physical symptoms like headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations, numbness, or hyperventilation.

Modalities of Treatment

Perinatal mental health disorders are an incredibly personal form of mental illness. It is important to know that you are not alone, you are not to blame, and with treatment you can get well. At Hess Psychological Services we take an evidence-based, holistic, and highly personalized approach to treating conditions like perinatal depression and postpartum anxiety. Using modalities like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Positive Psychology, we can empower parents entering into parenthood no matter the place in your journey. 

Schedule a Consultation

If you are struggling with feelings of sadness, worry, or fear during or after your pregnancy, it is time to get the help you deserve. At Hess Psychological Services, we are dedicated to helping our clients restore confidence and contentment to their lives. To schedule a consultation with founder Dr. Heather Hess or one of her team members, please fill out an online contact form.

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