Perinatal and Postpartum Issues

Perinatal Mental Health

Perinatal mental health is an important topic because of its multiple impacts on the entire family unit, including the parent-child duality and at an individual level. The word “perinatal” refers to the time before and after the birth of a child, indicating that changes in health may be evident during the prenatal and/or postpartum period. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders can vary in frequency and intensity, encompassing perinatal anxiety, perinatal depression, postpartum blues, postpartum OCD and postpartum psychosis.

The impacts associated with perinatal 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 mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) 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 mental health issues and concerns have no limit on who they touch, often becoming overwhelming and debilitating. Therapy can be a beneficial way to gain additional emotional support for your unique situation, 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.


Postpartum Support International. Educational Materials. Retrieved from https://www.postpartum.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/2021_04_02-PSI-PMADs-Infographic-Symptoms-_-Risk-Factors.pdf

Public Health Ontario. (2018). Perinatal Mental Health Toolkit for Ontario Public Health Units. Retrieved from https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/h/2018/hhdt-toolkit-perinatal-mental-health-module2.pdf