Mental Health Issues in Pregnancy and Options for Treatment

From Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health

Ann M. Sweet, RN, BS, NP-C; Thomas L. Schwartz, MD

Motherhood is supposed to be a wonderful and fulfilling experience. Pregnancy, childbirth, and caring for a new infant are considered to be a time of great joy. This is true for many new mothers. But for women with perinatal or postpartum depression, the experience of childbirth can be overwhelming. It can be filled with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety and fear. Although there is evidence of the negative consequences of depression during pregnancy, treatment is often limited and difficult to obtain. Women with mental health issues during pregnancy may:

  • Be unable to care for themselves properly;
  • Fail to obtain proper prenatal care; and
  • Be involved in dangerous behaviors.

After the birth of the baby, continued depression may lead to a negative effect on infant development and maternal-infant bonding.

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