Pregnancy and Mental Health

Did you know?

  • Perinatal depression affects one in seven women – this includes minor and major depressive episodes that occur throughout pregnancy or within the first 12 months after childbirth.
  • One in five women with perinatal depression also experience perinatal anxiety disorder.
  • 50% to 80% of all new mothers experience the “baby blues” with changes in emotional, mental, and physical states related to the pregnancy.
  • An estimated 7-9% of fathers experience depression in the first year after their child’s birth.

Research suggests changes in one’s body during pregnancy and after having a baby can have a strong effect on mood, resulting in a parent feeling extreme sadness, tiredness and sluggishness. They may even have difficulty completing daily tasks or caring for themselves or loved ones. Perinatal depression and postpartum depression are two conditions an individual may experience during and after pregnancy. Perinatal depression results from changes in emotional and mental states that occur during pregnancy and after childbirth. There is no single cause of perinatal depression; physical changes, lifestyle factors, worries about parenting and lack of sleep may all play a role. Individuals are not to blame or at fault for having perinatal depression, and it can affect anyone regardless of age, race, income, culture or education level. One in seven women will experience perinatal depression throughout their pregnancy or within the first 12 months of giving birth and one in five women with perinatal depression will also experience perinatal anxiety disorder.

The second condition is known as postpartum depression (PPD) where an individual may experience a feeling of depression or mood changes after their baby is born. Signs of PPD can include feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, severe mood swings, anxiety, withdrawing from family and friends, fear of not being a good parent or thoughts of harming oneself or one’s baby. PPD can be mistaken for the “baby blues.” Symptoms of baby blues can include mild mood changes, as well as feeling exhausted, worried or overwhelmed after delivery. The baby blues can last a few days to a couple of weeks and it should be noted that the symptoms of PPD are more intense than the baby blues and can last for many months—or longer if not treated. Symptoms of PPD may include fatigue, changes in eating or sleeping, irritability, anger or aggression.

Only a health care provider can help determine whether symptoms are due to PPD or something else. Parents should call their doctor right away if they notice signs or symptoms of perinatal depression or PPD. A doctor can help a parent determine which type of treatment works best — medication, or talk therapy, or both. With treatment, most people feel better, and their symptoms improve. Taking care of yourself is important and we are here to help you on this journey!

Looking for more information or resources?

The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline

1-833-9-HELP4MOMS or 1-833-943-5746

Postpartum Support International

Call the PSI helpline @ 1-800-944-4773

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Call or text 988 any time

NIMH » Perinatal Depression (

Mental health and perinatal depression information

Mental Health Matters!

Dr. Cameual Wright, Vice President,

Market Chief Medical Officer, CareSource Indiana


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