Pregnancy and a new baby can bring a range of emotions. Many women feel overwhelmed, sad, or anxious at different times during their pregnancy and even after the baby is born. For many women, these feelings go away on their own. But for some, the emotions are more serious and may stay for some time. While much of the research on women’s mental health related to pregnancy has been on depression that occurs after the birth of a baby ("postpartum depression"), we know that women experience mental health conditions other than depression ("postpartum mood disorders"), and symptoms occur during pregnancy too ("perinatal mood disorders").
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed a new initiative to help expectant and new parents get the help they need for mental health disorders during pregnancy and postpartum. You can access free materials in English and Spanish that counter the idea that all moms are happy during pregnancy and after birth, as well as help identifying the signs of depression and anxiety before baby’s arrival, including an action plan for moms to get the help that's needed. The materials also target partners and family members, as it's equally important for the people surrounding and supporting new parents to be aware of warning signs of depression and anxiety. Depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after birth are serious medical conditions, but they can and should be treated. For more information, and to access all of the materials available, visit the NIH webpage on maternal mental health.