Perinatal, Prenatal, and Postpartum Depression

Although pregnancy and the arrival of a newborn baby are often periods of joy and happiness, the transition to motherhood may present as difficult for some women. Postpartum depression (PPD) is defined as symptoms consistent with a Major Depressive Episode (MDE) occurring within 4-week after childbirth. However, many woman experience PPD either for longer than 4-weeks or the onset occurs much later in on the postpartum period. It is not uncommon to experience symptoms of PPD within the first full year after giving birth. In many instances, women begin to have symptoms within pregnancy (referred to as Prenatal Depression), as early as the first trimester. It is also not uncommon to experience anxiety and/or depression at any point of your pregnancy or postpartum period (referred to as Perinatal Depression). 

Symptoms of depression include:

 

  • Depressed mood

  • Lost of interest or apathy

  • Appetite changes

  • Concentration issues

  • Loss of libido

  • Feelings of inadequacy

  • Worthless and guilt

  • Sleep issues and insomnia

 

One of the challenges of diagnosing PPD is that these symptoms are often difficult to disentangle from normal consequences of care-taking for a newborn and transitioning into motherhood. Some other common emotional and cognitive symptoms include: 

 

  • Increased anxiety and panic

  • Irritability

  • Feelings of loss of control

  • Feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope

  • Irrational fears

 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after childbirth, you are not alone. Prevalence rates of PPD are high, with estimates reaching around 30% of mothers, however, it reality, these numbers are likely higher. Women may feel ashamed or embarrassed to be feeling this way during what should be a joyous time in their life. Therapy can work on helping you have more compassion for yourself, learn how to feel less guilty for asking for help, and normalize just how common it is for mothers to feel unhappy during this time.

Some Benefits of Postpartum Depression Counseling

  • Improved mood

  • Reduced stress and anxiety 

  • Help with overcoming parenting obstacles 

  • Increased coping skills 

  • Strengthened relationships 

  • Better communication skills

  • Learn how to set limits, calmly and compassionately 

  • Ways to nurture and provide care to self

  • Improved relationship with self and baby 

Postpartum Depression Counseling

Postpartum Depression and prenatal (during pregnancy) depression and anxiety are often, but not always, treated by a PCP or OB/GYN. However, many woman report that they do not feel comfortable disclosing emotional challenges during these times to a medical professional. New and expecting mothers might also feel unsure how traditional psychiatric medications might impact their child. Given the ​the demands of motherhood, it may be difficult to even feel like you have the time or energy to deal with what you may be facing. 

In Postpartum Depression counseling, you should feel safe and secure discussing how you feel, without judgement or criticism. It can be challenging to admit that you may feel like motherhood is more difficult or different than you expected. Therapy often involves accepting these feelings and exploring ways to cope with the challenges at hand. Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a type of therapy that is efficacious for treating Postpartum Depression, and focuses on improving and strengthening your relationships to reduce feelings of sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, frustration, and being overwhelmed. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can also be helpful and targets negative thoughts and beliefs. Both therapies have been proven effective with and without the use of medication. 

 

My Approach to Perinatal and Postpartum Depression Counseling

I received specialized training in women's health and wellness through the Neuroscience and Women’s Health Clinic at Stanford University School of Medicine. I have studied perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, completing my dissertation study on the relationship between self-compassion and Postpartum Depression symptoms. My findings confirm and align with my approach to therapy; that reducing harsh self-criticism and judgment improves your mood and your relationship with yourself, your loved ones, and your baby. 

 

In my office in Orange County or San Diego, I provide non-judgmental, perinatal and postpartum depression counseling to help you at any stage of your pregnancy and postpartum period. Together, I hope you are able to build compassion for yourself and you navigate a new, and often very challenging time. It is my goal to normalize and stigmatize perinatal depression, so that you know you are not alone. 

Interested? Let's Connect. 

There is no reason to embarrassed or ashamed if you are having a hard time coping with the new changes in your life. I'm here to help. Perinatal and Postpartum Depression Counseling is available in Orange County, San Diego, or online via teletherapy. 

 
 
 

Women's Health Articles

Postpartum Depression Counseling

Orange County and San Diego

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Moms

 

Newport Beach | Orange County, CA

180 Newport Center Drive Suite 168, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Encinitas | North County, San Diego, CA

169 Saxony Road Suite 111, Encinitas, CA 92024

 

© 2019 All Rights Reserved | Dr. Meagan Stanley PSY 30880

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