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National Women's Health Week

May 12-18, 2024

Day 3 - May 14: Shining a Light on Maternal Mental Health

Day 3 - May 14: Shining a Light on Maternal Mental Health

Shining a Light on Maternal Mental Health

Did you know that around 1 in 5 women experience mental health issues during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth? Although so many women experience these issues, many go without proper treatment and support for several reasons. Women may be scared to speak out about their struggles for fear of judgment, many healthcare providers do not routinely screen for mental health conditions in pregnant people and new parents, and many people find it difficult to get a referral or access proper services for treatment.

The good news is more and more people are sharing their experiences with mental health during and after pregnancy, and accessible resources for women and families are available now more than ever.

Struggling with Mental Health During Pregnancy

What do Maternal Mental Health Issues Look Like?

  1. Struggling with Mental Health During Pregnancy: For those managing a mental health condition during pregnancy, the feelings may be very intense. Some women feel very sad, angry, withdrawn, or hopeless during this time, which is not typical for them.
  2. Continued Struggles After the Baby Arrives: These feelings are more intense than what some people call the “baby blues” and last longer. The strong feelings of sadness, anxiety, and overwhelm can make it hard for women to take care of themselves or their new baby and/or other children.
  3. Changes in Typical Activities: People struggling with mental health issues after having a baby may withdraw from friends and family, lose interest, joy, or pleasure in the things they used to enjoy, or may sleep or eat more or less than usual.
  4. Rare, but Serious, Concerns: Some women experience more concerning symptoms like thoughts of harming themselves or the baby or may feel a deep sense of hopelessness. In rare cases, some women may hear or see things that aren’t there or feel very confused. Any of these signs could indicate a serious issue and a need for immediate health care provider support.

Learn more and hear from women with lived experience in our video, “Maternal Mental Health: Know the Signs. Reach Out for Help”.

Help is Available

  • Know the Signs: The first step is to know what to look out for. If you're feeling unusually sad, angry, or moody, or if you have strong feelings of guilt, shame, or worthlessness, you should seek options for support.
  • Reach out for Help: Talk to a health care provider if you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms noted above. You can also call or text the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline at 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262) 24/7 to talk to a trained counselor who specializes in maternal mental health.
  • Join a Group: Sometimes talking to others with similar feelings can make a big difference. Look for local support groups or check out websites such as Postpartum Support International's website to find a virtual community.
  • Take Care of You: Taking breaks and finding a little time for yourself can help manage your mental health. It's not selfish; it's necessary. It can also be helpful to make time to spend with your partner, friends, and family.
  • Speak Up: If you feel something’s wrong, don’t keep it to yourself. You know yourself best. Share your concerns with a healthcare provider or someone in your support system and ask for the help you need.

Mental Health is Always Important

Support and treatment for mental health are just as important as physical health. Mental health challenges when you’re pregnant or after having a baby doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. It is always okay to ask for the help you need. With support and treatment, recovery is possible.

If you or someone you know is struggling, don’t wait. Help is just a call or click away.

Struggling with Mental Health During Pregnancy

Call or text the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline at 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262).