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Perinatal Mood Disorders

Women suffering from perinatal mood disorders need to know they are not alone, there is help, and they will get better. The sooner a new mom gets help, the quicker she will recover.

If a woman is suffering from a perinatal mood disorder, it's important that she talk to her health care provider and receive support. Your health care provider may order some tests just to make sure that there is no other medical reason for the symptoms.

Medication is one option that can help women feel better. Learn what you can about the medication you are being prescribed. Know that there are now many medications that are compatible with breastfeeding.

Women often benefit from counseling. Having the opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust and is knowledgeable about postpartum mood disorder can be reassuring and encouraging.

Learn as much as you can about perinatal mood disorders. Knowing about and understanding what is happening can make it less frightening. 

Review:

Mental Health (PDF 117KB)

It’s Not Always Easy! Your Guide to Mood Changes When Pregnant, Postpartum or Parenting (PDF 280KB)

Visit:

Postpartum Support International

Help and Support:

Perinatal Mood Disorder – Help and Support

If you are the partner of a woman with postpartum mood disorder, here are some:

Tips
  • Understand that postpartum mood disorder is real and not her fault
  • Learn as much about postpartum mood disorder as you can
  • Do not criticize or judge her
  • Listen and accept her feelings
  • Support her as she seeks help; attend appointments with her if she asks you to, help to organize childcare so that she can attend her support group meetings
  • Provide breaks for her so she can take some time for herself away from the baby
  • Tell her you love her often
  • Try to be patient. It may take several months but with help she will get better
  • Watch for signs of emergency; if you have worries that partner could harm the baby or herself, get help immediately. Call a friend, a distress line, or doctor, or go to the emergency department of your local hospital and let them know why you are there
  • If you are a family member or friend who wants to help, here are some:

    Suggestions
    • Understand that postpartum mood disorder is real and it is not her fault
    • Offer to help. Consider cooking a meal for her family, doing the laundry or providing childcare for the new baby and/or older child so she can take a break
    • Listen to her as she expresses her feelings
    • Do not criticize or judge her
    • Call her on the phone and ask her how she is doing. It’s always helpful to know someone cares
    • Have patience. It may take several months but with help she will get better
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