Perinatal and Postpartum Issues

Perinatal and postpartum mental health is an important public health issue because of its multiple impacts on the entire family unit, including the parent-child duality and at an individual level. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders can vary in frequency and intensity, encompassing perinatal anxiety, perinatal depression, postpartum blues, paternal depression, and postpartum psychosis.

The impacts associated with perinatal and postpartum mental health issues, Include but are not limited to the following:

  • Low mood, energy, and motivation levels
  • Poor appetite/nutritional habits
  • Poor sleep quality (i.e. over or under sleeping)
  • Relationship difficulties (i.e. interpersonal conflict, disorganization in family activities/roles, etc.)
  • Difficulty Bonding with your baby
  • Extreme anxiety or fear about self or baby
  • Increased irritability and unstable mood
  • Suicide ideation

The risk factors for perinatal and postpartum mood disorders can include:

  • History of Psychiatric illness including depression or anxiety
  • Prenatal symptoms of anxiety
  • Onset of depression during pregnancy or postpartum
  • Stressful life events (i.e. losing job, divorce, etc.)
  • Low social support
  • Low self-esteem
  • History of physical or sexual abuse
  • Intimate partner violence
  • History of reproductive trauma
  • Grief related to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss
  • Substance use
  • Low socio-economic status

Perinatal and postpartum mental health issues and concerns have no limit on whom they touch, often becoming overwhelming and debilitating. Therapy can be a beneficial way to gain additional emotional support for your unique situation to improve your overall health and well being, while learning strategies to help manage symptoms as they arise. It is important to know that you are not alone in your experience and that reaching out for support can be one of the healthiest ways to navigate through this big life transition.


Public Health Ontario. (2018). Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit for Ontario Public Health Units. Retrieved from

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