May 8, 2024
Mental Health

Becoming a Mom can be a beautiful experience of newness, bonding, and awe of this new little being and what your body was able to produce. And yet simultaneously this season can also hold unexpected loneliness and difficulty both physically and mentally.

Up to 85% of women experience mood fluctuation shortly after delivering, which can include increased tearfulness, anxiety, or irritability. 

This means that most women who have a baby have shared this feeling of overwhelm. For some, these symptoms go away on their own after a few weeks. Others of us, however, may not experience relief, and instead those symptoms don’t dissipate.


What is important to understand from this is that you are not alone. 


Perinatal Mental Health Basics

  • Psychiatric disorders are considered perinatal when someone experiences symptoms (even pre-existing symptoms) during pregnancy or up to a year after delivery.
  • There are several mental health disorders that can develop or worsen in the perinatal period including depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, or psychosis.

We’ll do a deeper dive into perinatal depression and anxiety here due to their prevalence, but if you suspect any of the other disorders listed above in yourself or someone else, please seek professional support.


Perinatal Depression

What is Perinatal Depression?

Perinatal depression is a decline in mood during or shortly after pregnancy that lasts longer than 2 weeks and is noticeable most days. This 2 week marker differentiates it from Baby Blues, the term for those less-severe mood fluctuations in the first two weeks after delivery. 


How do I know if I have Perinatal Depression?

If you have concerns that you may have perinatal depression, please reach out to your OBGYN, therapist, or psychiatrist to complete a depression screening.

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Frequent tearfulness
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of motivation to complete every-day tasks such as getting out of bed or showering
  • Difficulty bonding with the new baby
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lack of interest in activities that used to bring you joy
  • Suicidal thoughts


Perinatal Anxiety

What is Perinatal Anxiety?

Perinatal anxiety is persistent worries that interfere with everyday life.


How do I know if I have Perinatal Anxiety?

Similarly to a depression screening, your OBGYN, therapist, or psychiatrist can complete an anxiety screening with you.

Symptoms to watch for: 

  • Racing thoughts
  • Incessant worry
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Bodily tension
  • Shortness of breath
  • Avoidance of activities such as leaving the house


If any of this describes your postpartum experience, please know that there is hope.



What can I do about Perinatal Mental Health Disorders?

First and foremost, if you suspect you may be experiencing a perinatal mental health disorder, please tell someone- whether your doctor, therapist, friend, or family member. There are several treatment options for perinatal depression and/or anxiety, many of which are beneficial when utilized in combination with one another:

  • Therapy
  • Medication
  • Support groups 
  • Yoga and other body/sound work
  • Good sleep hygiene
  • Asking for help from friends and family
  • Utilizing Coping skills



  • Postpartum Support International
  • National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-9-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262) 
  • 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: call or text 988 if you have any thoughts of hurting yourself




Hannah Schonewill, LMSW is experienced in trauma, depression, anxiety, and perinatal mood disorders. She cares deeply about walking alongside mothers as they walk through all phases of the perinatal journey including pregnancy loss, the prenatal period, and the adjustment to motherhood.

Book with Hannah Here