Perinatal Mental Health

Becoming a mother is a life changing experience that is often filled with joy. It can also include anxiety and sadness. A pregnant or postpartum woman who finds herself distressed, depressed and anxious often feels alone. You may feel ashamed, alienated, inadequate and guilty. You may wonder how you could possibly feel this bad when you love your baby and were looking forward to pregnancy and motherhood. These thoughts and feelings are symptoms. They are not a definition of who you are as a person, a woman, or a mother. Pregnancy and the birth of a baby may bring feelings of joy, however, this can also be a time of increased stress and emotional vulnerability.  The transition to parenthood is a significant emotional and psychological adjustment for the mother, the partner and the entire family. ​ 

Maternal depression is the number one complication of childbirth and pregnancy, affecting approximately one million women in the United States each year (one/six). Maternal or perinatal depression encompasses a range of mood disorders that can affect a woman during pregnancy, around the time of birth and through the child's first year. Left untreated, maternal depression leads to long-term depression in the mother, a lack of emotional availability for the baby and detrimental outcomes in the development of the fetus, newborn and developing child.

Let us help you and provide support during this period of your life.  Women can be seen in the Women’s Wellness Services clinic at SGCMH.

Wondering whether you might need professional help?

One way to know if you are at risk for depression or anxiety is to complete a screening  tool. Fill out this questionnaire about your symptoms in the past week: 

​Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Survey*

If your total is 10 or above you may want to consider professional help. If you answered 1, 2 or 3 to item #10, please contact a health care provider immediately.

* Only you can view your answers and total. Your score will not be viewed or saved by the website.

Brandie Filer, MSW LCSW is available to help and can be reached at 573-883-2782

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