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What is Perinatal Depression?

Perinatal Depression (PND) is the onset of depressive symptoms during pregnancy or up to 12 months after the baby has been born. PND encompasses both Antepartum or Prenatal Depression (during or relating to pregnancy) and the more commonly known Postpartum Depression (PPD). PND is often brushed off as Baby Blues, which occurs in 50%-75% of women, however, the symptoms associated with PND are more intense and can last for a significant amount of time if ignored. Perinatal Depression is the most under diagnosed obstetric complication in America. Research has shown that 10% - 13% of new mothers suffer from PND.

What are the Symptoms of Perinatal Depression?


Common symptoms of Prenatal and Postpartum Depression Include:

  • Sadness and guilt

  • Excessive crying

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Irritability

  • Not feeling connected to baby

  • Loss of interest in things you enjoy

  • Withdrawing from people

  • Fear that you're not a good mom

  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much

  • Change in appetite

  • Mood swings

  • Exhaustion

  • Difficulty Concentrating/Making Decisions

  • Anxiety

  • Hopelessness

Less common symptoms of Perinatal Depression include:

  • Rage

  • Insomnia

  • Panic Attacks

  • Non-psychotic intrusive thoughts and images

  • Protectiveness and Hyper-vigilance

  • Drug and Alcohol Dependence

What are the Causes of Perinatal Depression?

There are a wide variety of situations and circumstances that have been linked to Perinatal Depression. If you find yourself identifying with any of the factors listed below, you should discuss them with your medical provider or a mental health specialist.

  • Personal or family history of Perinatal Mood Disorders

  • Complications with Pregnancy, Birth, or Motherhood

  • Previous Hormonal or Ovarian Conditions

  • Financial, Familial, or Marital Stress

  • Inadequate Support or Feeling Overwhelmed 

How do I Know if I Have Perinatal Depression?

Like any other illness or ailment, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of this disorder, you should make an appointment to see a mental health professional. You may also consider getting screened for PPD. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is a widely recognized and accepted screening tool used to help determine is women are suffering from Postpartum Depression. The screening asks a series of 10 questions to help determine if a mother is symptomatic and should be referred to a clinician. The EPDS can not diagnosis depression. A diagnosis can only be done by appropriately licensed health care personnel. If you would like to take the EPDS, please click on the link below. 

Is There Treatment for Perinatal Depression?

Postpartum Depression is temporary and treatable. If you feel that you or a loved one is depressed as a result of their pregnancy or having a child, know that you are not alone and help is available. Please contact Dr. Montfort for a free consultation or schedule an appointment to be seen.


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