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Maternal Mental Health Discussed At Hoag

By Patch

April 27, 2018

Newborns aren't the only ones who need love and support. Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian recently announced the launch of the Maternal Mental Health Program in hopes of helping new and expecting mothers overcome mental health challenges associated with hormonal changes before, during and after pregnancy.

"Women are told that the birth of their babies should be the happiest times of their lives. But for many, hormonal changes lead to a cascade of emotions, including depression and feelings of hopelessness," said Patricia De Marco Centeno, M.D., medical director of the Maternal Mental Health Program at Hoag. "What surprises many people is that 1 in 5 women experiences maternal depression which makes it the leading complication of pregnancy."

To support mothers and babies, Hoag Women's Health Institute and the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute have collaborated on a program, available to the community at large, that offers universal screening, connection to support, early intervention and treatment and community education.

The Maternal Mental Health Program, which is supported by philanthropy, is dedicated to women experiencing mental health conditions before, during and after pregnancy, and includes an outpatient clinic where they can meet with a psychiatrist, licensed marriage and family therapist or a licensed clinical social worker to receive the care they need or be connected to local resources. The team offers pre-conception planning, mental health assessments, individual and group psychotherapy, medication safety evaluation during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and more.

"Motherhood can be incredibly isolating, and postpartum depression is too often misunderstood. This program gives women and their families the full support they need at the time they need it most," said Allyson Brooks, M.D., Ginny Ueberroth Executive Medical Director Endowed Chair of the Hoag Women's Health Institute.

Women and their doctors are also able to call Hoag's Maternal Mental Health Support Line (949-764-5333) for specialized resources.

"Most women experience some mood-altering fluctuation in hormones during and after pregnancy that can last for a few weeks or even months," Dr. De Marco Centeno said. "And the physical, emotional and social demands surrounding motherhood can impact a woman's mood. Depression can occur at any time before, during or after pregnancy, and all of these periods deserve the same level of attention."

Hoag identified this need not just for the health of mothers, but for their babies, as well. Depression and anxiety have been associated with several complications such as premature delivery, low birth weight, higher rates of C-sections, and higher levels of stress on the newborn. Babies born from depressed or highly anxious mothers might experience changes to their neurochemistry that predisposes them to depression and anxiety later in life.

"My hope is that clinicians and women recognize the need and understand that maternal mental health is just as important as prenatal care," Dr. De Marco Centeno said. "Screening is essential, and a connection to resources is vital. The important thing to remember is that you're not alone. Help is available."

Clinic Information:

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: 500 Superior Ave., Ste. 315, Newport Beach, CA, 92663

To learn more about the clinic and connect to services, please call the Maternal Mental Health Support Line, Mondaythrough Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 949-764-5333.

To read the original Patch article