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Pregnancy and Postpartum
Perinatal mental health issues are those that arise during pregnancy and in the first year following the birth of a baby. The most common problems are depression and anxiety, but mental illnesses in expectant and new parents can include anxiety, depression, OCD, bipolar disorder, and psychosis.
If left untreated, perinatal mental health problems can have significant and long-term effects on the woman, her baby, her partner, and other family members. Antepartum and postpartum treatment can help support the development of a healthy relationship between mother and child.
Is Mental Health Therapy Worth Considering During Pregnancy and Postpartum?
Leading Birth Complication
Experts estimate that 20-30% of women develop a mental health problem in the perinatal period.
The transition to motherhood is a life-changing experience that brings both immense joy and significant challenges.
You Deserve Better
Your experience matters, you deserve to have a safe space to process everything that you are feeling.
How does pregnancy affect mental health?
For some, pregnancy can be a joyful and exciting time. But this is not always true. An unexpected pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy can result in mixed or even negative feelings.
Even when the pregnancy is planned, it brings with it many uncertainties and significant changes. During pregnancy, the individual has to manage physical changes (morning sickness, changes in body shape, exhaustion, hormonal fluctuations), social changes (stopping work, changes in everyday lifestyle), and relationship changes (being a mother, shifting friendships and romantic relationships).
Many expectant mothers are fearful about childbirth, complications with the pregnancy, their own health, and the health of their baby.
Perinatal mental health problems can also arise from anxiety about being a good mother. Lack of support is another factor that can give rise to perinatal mental health issues.
Complications during pregnancy, such as stillbirth, abortion, miscarriage, or pregnancy loss, are commonly associated with depression and anxiety.
Women with a pre-existing mental illness may experience a worsening of their symptoms during pregnancy and/or after childbirth. This can be due to stopping medications, anxious or negative thoughts about the pregnancy, or new and upsetting feelings about motherhood.
Postpartum depression and other mental health issues in the perinatal period are not something to be embarrassed about. They are common and treatable. Sharing your symptoms with a mental health expert can help you get the appropriate treatment.
Postpartum baby blues typically resolve on their own in 1-2 weeks. You should try to get as much rest as possible and accept help from friends and family if you have the opportunity. Take some time out for yourself and connect with other new mothers, so you don’t feel alone.
If you have postpartum depression, counseling or therapy can be very helpful. Talking about your concerns with a licensed mental health professional can help you identify stressors and find relief, process through the many feelings associated with pregnancy and motherhood, and set realistic goals. In some cases, antidepressant or antianxiety medications may be required. Your mental health professional can help connect you to local resources and support you in decision-making.
Three simple letters, but a lifetime of change.
"Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is...and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong." - Donna Ball
What if I don't have the standard postpartum depression symptoms? Can something still be wrong?
In short, absolutely. PPD (or postpartum depression) is most commonly known yet there are several other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders that can causes discomfort, fear and overwhelm for mothers. Postpartum anxiety and postpartum OCD are often missed by providers and are not screened for enough. Common symptoms include intrusive thoughts relating to harming the baby, fear of being left alone the baby, hypervigilance in protecting the baby and compulsions (things like needing to clean constantly, check things many times, count or reorder things.)
You may need support if you find yourself
- obsessing over baby sleep and schedules
- avoiding certain rooms, routines or items due to fear of harming baby
- having persistent thoughts that are sexual or scary in nature
- not being able to sleep due to obsessions and compulsions
Learn More, Dive Deeper.
Our mission is to create and hold space for vulnerability, curiosity and change. Each workshop, group or guidebook is thoughtfully designed to feel safe, empowering and bring you back to a place of connection with self and others.
Free Parent Support Group
In person (Peachtree City, Ga): a monthly support group for parents during the first year postpartum. We have snacks, chats & topics to dive into.
look back later for more offerings!
look back later for more offerings!
How can I maximize mental well-being during pregnancy and after childbirth?
- Find time to do things you enjoy, which improve your mood and help you relax.
- Practice mindfulness (living in the present) and meditation.
- Accept help from family and friends.
- Talk about any concerns or worries with a mental health professional.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet that works for you and your baby.
- Prioritize sleep.
- Exercise when possible (ask your OB/GYN about appropriate exercises during pregnancy and after childbirth).
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol.
At Nurture and Be Therapy Services, we specialize in perinatal therapy and counseling. If you are interested in speaking with one of our licensed therapists, then please contact us today so we can assist you.
In the meantime, please see more helpful content below from our Nurture & Be Podcast:
- Health and Wellness from the Perspective of a High Risk OBGYN w/ Dr. Lindsay Maggio
- "Women Can Have It All, Just Not at the Same Time" : Exploring Simpler Living w/ Kate Ferguson
- What They Don't Tell You About Pregnancy (Multiple Moms Sharing Their Experiences)
- Tonya’s Story on Infertility
- Brooke's Story on Pregnancy After Pregnancy Loss
Explore our pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood blogs for Tips, Tricks, and Heartfelt Stories
Navigating the Fourth Trimester Postpartum
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Trusted Perinatal Providers
Chiropractor: Dr. Kelly Barnette
Doula: Maggie Watkins
Doula: Christina Pruitt
Lactation Consultant- Angela Orenczak
Pelvic Floor Therapist- Dr. Jennifer McGowan
Pelvic Floor Therapist- ProHealth
Postpartum Doula and Groups: The Supported Mama
Bradley Method Classes: Anna Winter
Psychiatrist: Alexandra Widdon
Webster Certified Chiropractor- Revitalize Chiropractic
Postpartum Doula- Kelley Vanden Heuvel
Lactation Consultant- Lactation Loop, Allison Heilman
Pelvic Floor Therapist-
Birth Doula- Lauren Johanesen
Psychiatrist: Alexandra Widdon
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As a practice we are dedicated to showing up honest, kind & as we are.
Relationships are at the center of everything. The therapeutic relationship is so important to your healing. We take your trust seriously.
Feeling worthy, bold and joyful is your right! As a practice our goal is to create spaces where you feel safe to set boundaries, and ask for what you need.