Algoma Public Health
Perinatal Mental Health
Perinatal Mental Health refers to emotional health and well-being from conception, through pregnancy and the first year after childbirth. Often seen as a time of excitement and joy, pregnancy, birth and early parenthood are also times of great change and increased stress. A new parent may find their mood changing quickly, from happiness and excitement to feeling sad or overwhelmed.
Mood changes that occur in the first 1-2 weeks following birth are frequently called the “baby blues”. If the baby blues last longer, or are accompanied by frightening or unwanted thoughts about yourself or the baby, you may have a perinatal or postpartum mood or anxiety disorder (PMAD). This happens to about 10-20% of birthing individuals, and is also common among parenting partners. It is not anyone’s fault, and it is important to get help early. PMAD is a medical condition that requires assessment and treatment, and it is recommended that you visit your health care provider for help. Counselling may provide beneficial support, and you may also consider medication as part of your treatment.
A rare but very serious medical condition that threatens the well-being of new parents and their babies is postpartum psychosis. This is a mental health emergency.
A person experiencing postpartum psychosis may be confused or out of touch with reality, hear or see things that aren’t there, or have intense feelings of harm to themselves or the baby.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum psychosis, get help now. Call your health care provider, go to the emergency department or dial 911. You need immediate help and should not be alone with your baby.
Life With a Baby - Mental Health Counselling
Mental health counselling is available as both group therapy with peer led HOPE groups as well as individual counselling with counselling students. Must be over the age of 18 to access this resource. www.lifewithababy.com
An 8 week online support group offered by the Mental Health Program at Women’s College Hospital for mothers dealing with mood/adjustment challenges following the birth of their baby. Click “Mother Matters” for more information, and to register for the next session.
For more information on mental wellness supports and services, please visit our Mental Wellness page.
Date Created: October, 2023