Mood Disorders During Pregnancy & Childbirth

Hormonal changes during pregnancy and childbirth can have a profound impact on mood. Approximately 10-20% of women experience depression during pregnancy, and studies show that women who have been treated for depression before pregnancy are more likely to experience depression during pregnancy. Depression is a serious medical condition that poses risks for both mother and baby. That’s why it’s important for women who have had a history of depression, or are taking antidepressants, speak with their physician prior to trying to conceive. The good news is, there are highly effective treatment options available to manage depression during pregnancy, including individual and group therapy or counseling, and in some cases anti-depressant medication.

Postpartum mood changes are common due to the significant hormonal changes that occur immediately following childbirth. In fact, approximately 80% of women experience the “baby blues” – a period of heightened emotional sensitivity and mild depression which occurs within the first 10 days after delivery and may last about 1-2 weeks.

However, for about 10-15% of women, these symptoms are more profound and persistent. This is referred to as Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders ( PMAD), previously known as postpartum depression. PMAD was adopted to more accurately capture the types of conditions related to maternal mental health. This condition can occur within the first few weeks after childbirth and can persist up to one year or longer, if not treated. PMAD is characterized by moderate-to-severe mood changes that can interfere with a woman’s ability to handle day-to-day tasks, including caring for her infant.

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) generally include:

  • Severe mood swings and intense irritability and anger
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia

In some cases, PMAD is so severe that a woman may have thoughts of harming herself or her infant. In these cases, it is critical that a woman seek immediate medical attention.

Maternal Mental Health Program and Outpatient Clinic

Hoag Maternal Mental Health Program is dedicated to helping women experiencing mental health conditions before, during and after pregnancy. A collaboration between Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute and Women’s Health Institute, our goal is to ensure healthy outcomes for both mothers and babies.

Our program includes an outpatient clinic where expectant and new moms with various mental health conditions 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.

Additionally, we offer the following services:

  • Pre-conception planning (women with existing mental health conditions or who are already taking medications and are planning to conceive)
  • Mental health assessment during pregnancy and post-partum
  • Individual and group psychotherapy
  • Medication Safety Evaluation during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
  • Connection to local support services

Outpatient Clinic

Women who are currently pregnant, postpartum (up to one year) and women who are planning to conceive and desire a pre-conception medication safety evaluation can be referred to the outpatient clinic.

The clinic is located at Hoag for Her Center for Wellness at 500 Superior Ave., Suite 315, Newport Beach, CA 92663.

For scheduling and insurance eligibility, please call 949-764-8191. To learn more about the clinic or be connected to support services, please call our Maternal Mental Health Support Line Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 949-764-5333.

Hoag Support Groups and Classes for Pregnant and New Moms

Hoag offers free support groups facilitated by licensed therapists for women to talk openly about their experiences, as well as a mindfulness class for pregnant and new moms. These ongoing support programs focus on teaching positive coping skills and providing support and education.

Support groups are held virtually. Babies and support persons are welcome. With questions, please call the Maternal Mental Health Support Line at 949-764-5333.

Maternal Mental Health Support Line

This free support line will help connect maternity patients to mental health providers (counselors, psychotherapists, psychiatrists) in the community. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression or anxiety and have a difficult time connecting with mental health resources, please call use directly for assistance. The support line is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and voicemails will be answered during those hours of operation. The phone number is 949-764-5333. If you need additional online resources please click here.

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