Maternal Mental Health

To find a local resource or a provider in your area visit the Maternal Mental Health Referral Network.

What is Maternal Mental Health?

Depression and anxiety are the most common complication of childbirth. In fact, one eight Utah women, according to the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), are affected by postpartum depression, and one in three Utah women will experience either depression during pregnancy, anxiety during pregnancy, or postpartum depression.

Maternal mental health includes much more than just postpartum depression, and can occur anytime during a pregnancy, through one year postpartum (and beyond!). In addition to depression, maternal mental health includes anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and psychosis. These mood disorders are different from the “baby blues” which around 80% of women experience. If you are not feeling like yourself two or three weeks after having a baby, or find it difficult to care for yourself or your infant, it can be something more than the baby blues.

What are Symptoms and Risk Factors?

Many moms struggle with symptoms they may not recognize as a problems such as too much or too little sleep, avoiding family or friends, irritability, anger, lack of enjoyment in things they used to love, scary thoughts they are afraid of, thinking someone else would be a better mom, or wishing they could disappear.

Although any woman (or man!) can experience postpartum depression, people who have the following are at a higher risk:

  • A complicated pregnancy, or health issues during pregnancy
  • A premature birth
  • Are single mothers
  • Had postpartum depression or anxiety with a previous child
  • Had a mom or sister with postpartum depression or other perinatal mood disorder
  • A complicated or traumatic birth
  • Birth or postpartum expectations not met (not being able to breastfeed, etc.)
  • Mixed feelings about the pregnancy, whether it was planned or unplanned

What Helps?

Depression and mood disorders are treatable, but will not likely go away on their own. The help you need might be as simple as focusing on sleep, nutrition, more water, or social support. For a free resource to help with maternal mental health that you can print or keep on your phone, click here to download SUNSHINE or here to download BAILANDO (in Spanish).

You might also benefit from counseling, therapy, medication, or a combination. To find a local resource in your area, visit: maternalmentalhealth.utah.gov.

If you are not feeling like yourself, reach out for help. You deserve to be well.

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