You Are Not Alone – The Truth about Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Maribeth Hollinshead, Director of Signature Medical Group’s Maternity Care Home, was featured on a FOX2 STLMoms news segment “Postpartum depression affects more than new mothers”, providing information on Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD).

Postpartum depression is well known but PMAD is the new, more inclusive, and accurate term. PMAD is the primary medical complication related to childbearing, yet does not get a lot of attention. Depression and anxiety disorders can develop during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum. Most cases of PMAD are undetected and undertreated; 1 in 7 women will suffer with PMAD. It is not only mothers at risk; fathers, same sex parents, adoptive parents, and surrogates are all at risk.

PMAD can occur in people with no previous history of anxiety or depression and can happen to anyone in any walk of life whether they have risk factors or not. There is an increased risk for PMAD for people with a difficult or traumatic pregnancy or birth or a previous history of a mental health disorder. Pregnancy and the arrival of a baby is filled with stress and change. However, if a person’s mental health is affecting them daily or altering the way they take care of themselves or their child, it is more than just new parent stress and they should be connected with professional help. Without help, the parent or baby can have long term and life-threatening problems.

Where can help be found? First, OB/GYN doctors can connect patients with a professional counselor experienced in PMAD. Second, people experiencing PMAD can also practice self care including proper sleep, nutrition, exercise, and find help in caring for their children.

The Maternity Care Home at Signature Medical Group is transforming maternity care by providing regular PMAD screenings during pregnancy, reducing the stigma associated with mental health concerns during pregnancy, and incorporating social workers as part of the clinical care team to address psychosocial needs. 

Betsy Engle