Depression and Anxiety During & After Pregnancy

Perinatal mood disorder is a term used to describe a wide variety of emotions including depression, anxiety, and OCD that some women may experience during and after a pregnancy. In fact, 1 in 10 women will struggle with a perinatal mood disorder

At Suffolk Counseling Services, many of our clients struggling with these emotions feel as if they need to hide their feelings, usually due to the common belief that having a baby is supposed to be a cause for joy and celebration. Please know, there is no need to feel ashamed about these negative emotions. Fortunately, we now have a scientific understanding of why it occurs, and our licensed mental health counselors can provide you with excellent treatment options. Many of our therapists specialize in working with new and expecting mothers and their loved ones.

mother having fun with baby

What is Perinatal Depression?

Perinatal depression is a mood disorder that can affect women during pregnancy and after childbirth. The word “perinatal” refers to the time before and after the birth of a child. Perinatal depression includes depression that begins during pregnancy (called prenatal depression) and depression that begins after the baby is born (called postpartum depression). Mothers with perinatal depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and fatigue that may make it difficult for them to carry out daily tasks, including caring for themselves or others.

National Institute of Mental Health

Excessive and uncontrollable worry about life events which may cause:

  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Muscle tension
  • Trouble sleeping

Anxiety symptoms during the perinatal period include:

  • Fear of baby’s wellbeing
  • Fear of maternal wellness
  • Fear of health of maternal partner
  • Fear of parental mortality

General symptoms associated with Perinatal Mood Disorders include:

  • Distress in relationships
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Altered appetite
  • Intrusive repetitive thoughts
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Hallucinations (If you are experiencing this please call 911 immediately)
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby (If you are experiencing this please call 911 immediately)

How Can a Therapist Help Me? What Am I Supposed to Talk About?

Our team of licensed therapists all believe in and help promote the individual’s ability to heal. Your therapist will never judge you, and will always provide a safe, accepting environment, approaching your individual situation with empathy, compassion, and professionalism. You do not need to worry about what to discuss as your therapist will begin by thoughtfully guiding your sessions with questions that build genuine trust while attaining a better grasp on what it is you are experiencing. During each successive session you will find it easier to bring up topics, concerns, victories, and struggles that help you and your therapist work together to achieve the positive results being sought after.

Your therapist will work with you directly and help you with the following:

  • Education about what you are going through in order to understand what is happening with your emotional health, and how your physical health may be actually be impacting it
  • Techniques, skills, and coping mechanisms that help you effectively manage your stresses and anxieties
  • Assistance with processing and understanding difficult life experiences which may impact how you are feeling
  • Comprehending the role your environment plays in your emotional wellness
  • Evaluating the need to collaborate with other trusted care providers (nutritionists, MDs etc.)
  • And much more…

Your therapist will use a variety of researched and proven therapeutic methods in their work with you including but not limited to:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Positive psychology
  • Person-in-environment and family systems models