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Perinatal Behavioral Health Services (PBHS)

If you feel anxious and sad during pregnancy, you should not feel ashamed. It is common for women to experience depression during and after pregnancy. About 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers have depression. Women with babies in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU) have even a higher rate of depression.

Women & Infants Center: Behavioral Health Treatment Options

The perinatal behavioral health services team at the Women & Infants Center brings awareness about postpartum depression. New mothers and their support persons or partners receive brochures and education about postpartum depression so they can recognize the signs themselves and seek help.

Many women don’t reveal or realize that they are experiencing depression and, therefore, don’t receive the care they need to get better. If left untreated, postpartum depression can last for several months and interfere with a mother’s ability to take care of herself and her child.

That’s why, at the Women & Infants Center, we provide screening, evaluation and treatment, as needed, for all new mothers. Our treatment services include:

  • Individual and couples therapy: Session(s) can include a brief intervention or longer-term therapy.
  • Psychiatry services: Mothers who have mental health issues or more serious psychiatric conditions have several options, including talk therapy and/or medication.
  • Community resources: Our clinical coordinators can provide referrals to community-based mental and behavioral health clinics and other support services.

Screening for Postpartum Depression

Our perinatal behavioral health services team screens all new mothers using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. This ten-question screening tool helps providers recognize women with signs of postpartum depression.

Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression

Depression can affect anybody. But certain factors may increase the risk for pregnancy-related depression. These factors include:

  • Prior history of depression
  • Life stress
  • Poor social support
  • Marital discord
  • Single marital status
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Stress and anxiety from going through a high-risk pregnancy or having a seriously ill baby

Symptoms of Depression

Occasional feelings of sadness or fatigue are normal. But if you experience any combination of these symptoms for more than two weeks, you should seek help from a mental health professional:

  • Sad or depressed mood
  • Anxiety
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling withdrawn
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Feeling emotionally detached from the baby with little interest in providing essential care

Contact Us

To make an appointment with a Washington University perinatal behavioral health specialist at the Women & Infants Center, call [Dynamic_Phone_Number].