Peripartum Wellness

About

Peripartum Wellness

What is peripartum wellness?

The word peripartum refers to a period of time immediately before, during, or after childbirth. Many of the new moms will experience what’s called “baby blues”, in which they experience being in a constant mood of sadness and feeling down after the birth. Up to 75% of women can experience this, however, baby blues are expected to last up to two weeks and typically goes away. However, postpartum depression is a more serious disorder, and up to 15% of women are at risk of developing the disorder.

What is perinatal depression?

Perinatal depression refers to a mood disorder related to during or after childbirth. There are two types of perinatal depression: prenatal depression, and postpartum depression. 

  • Prenatal depression: depression that develops during pregnancy
  • Postpartum depression: depression that develops after pregnancy

Baby blues vs. perinatal depression

Baby blues and perinatal depression have very similar symptoms, so it’s difficult to tell in the beginning. However, baby blues are shorter in duration and the symptoms are less intense compared to perinatal depression. Usually, baby blues last for about 2 weeks after the birth. Perinatal depression, on the other hand, does not get better over time and the symptoms get more intense. It also can last for a longer period of time.

Is perinatal depression treatable?

Yes, with proper medical care and support from family, many women report that their symptoms improve over time. It is important for women with perinatal depression to seek help from their family and a medical professional. If not treated, it can lead to serious health problems for herself and the baby. Many women experience perinatal depression, so they should not feel guilty or embarrassed for seeking help.

Causes

What causes perinatal depression?

There is no single cause for perinatal depression. Both physical and emotional factors play a role.

  • Physical: a large drop in hormones after childbirth, which could contribute to depression. 
  • Emotional: a newborn baby requires constant care, so many new moms are often sleep-deprived and feel overwhelmed with the new duties.

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Symptoms

What are the symptoms of perinatal depression?

The severity and the types of symptoms experienced by each woman are different. However, here are some of the common symptoms:

  • Constantly feeling sad, down, and anxious
  • Feeling guilty, helpless, and hopeless
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and favorite activities
  • Having trouble focusing, remembering, or indecisiveness
  • Physical pains without an apparent cause
  • Trouble bonding with the baby or not feeling emotionally attached to the baby
  • Decrease in energy, fatigue
  • Thoughts of harming oneself or the baby
  • Thought of suicide or death

Diagnosis

How is perinatal depression diagnosed?

Your doctor will talk to you about your feelings and most likely have you complete a questionnaire. This will help them distinguish baby blues from perinatal depression. They may also order a blood test to rule out any physical abnormalities that could be contributing to the symptoms of perinatal depression.

Treatment

What treatment options are available for perinatal depression?

Your doctor will make a proper diagnosis and create a treatment plan for you. Depending on the diagnosis, your doctor may refer you to a specialist. In most cases, perinatal depression can be treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication.

  • Psychotherapy: your therapist will encourage you to talk about your feelings and symptoms. They will also offer ways to cope with your stressful situations by setting realistic goals.
  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant to help you with your depressive symptoms. Make sure to talk with your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of taking an antidepressant, even though antidepressants are generally considered to be safe for use during breastfeeding.

References

Mayo Clinic. (2018, September 1). Postpartum depression - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20376623
National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). NIMH » Perinatal Depression. NIH. Retrieved July 16, 2021, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/perinatal-depression/

Information

Medically reviewed by:

Dr Roy Kedem, MD

Dr Roy Kedem started his premedical studies at Harvard, and research in genetics and gene sequencing at Harvard, Beth Israel. He attended medical school in the UK at the Cambridge Overseas Medical Program in 1998.  Dr Kedem then completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in Stamford, Connecticut and his fellowship in Hospital Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Affordable –
with or without insurance

With Insurance

Behavioral Health

Your copay
Depending on insurance

Without Insurance

Behavioral Health

$240

Initial Visit

$99

Follow Up