Maternal Mental Health

What are perinatal mood disorders?

Perinatal Mood Disorders may include:

  • Postpartum Depression
  • Depression During Pregnancy
  • Postpartum Anxiety
  • Anxiety During Pregnancy
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) During Pregnancy or Postpartum
  • Postpartum or Pregnancy-Induced Bipolar Disorder

Did you know?

You may have heard of postpartum depression, but did you know that parents can suffer from anxiety, depression, OCD and trauma up to 1 year postpartum and during pregnancy? As many as 1 in 5 women may suffer from a perinatal mood disorder in their lifetime. This is not just the “baby blues” which typically last from 3 days-2 weeks and are mild symptoms. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your pregnancy or feel unsettled after having a baby, you may be suffering from a perinatal mood disorder. Common symptoms of perinatal mood disorders may include feeling overwhelmed, on edge, guilt, loss of sleep, rage, and scary thoughts. These symptoms DO NOT mean that you are a bad parent or unfit to take care of your baby. We are here to help

Maternal Mental Health

Birth Trauma

Traumatic births can occur during any type of birth when a pregnant person feels their baby’s life may be in jeopardy or may have felt a loss of control during the birth process. Approximately 1 in 4 women who experience birth traumatic birth may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This condition may impact the way you feel about your birth and your baby. Birth trauma is a treatable condition, and you can heal with proper support.

Grief and Loss

Grief and loss may happen throughout the lifespan and have long-lasting effects. Processing through grief and loss is not linear and can occur at any point during the grieving process. People of childbearing years may experience many losses that may not be recognized by others. These are called shadow losses. These may include experiencing like miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, gender disappointment, loss of identity and more. Processing through grief and loss can help you to heal and feel more present in your everyday life. If you feel grief as impacted your life Birch Tree Psychotherapy can help. 

Perinatal Anxiety

Perinatal anxiety is the 2nd leading mental health condition in mothers, experienced by almost 15-20% of women. The anxiety that comes with a new baby may be overwhelming and many parents do not understand the differences between what is normal and what is more serious. Anxiety may cause parents to feel on edge all the time or worry about baby’s needs unnecessarily. The transition to parenthood is challenging to navigate, it is ok to not know how to manage this new role. There is support for you and you can feel better.

Motherhood Exhaustion

Perinatal Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Approximately 80% of new moms experience scary thoughts which can include intrusive images or thoughts of harm coming to them or their baby. These thoughts are caused by anxiety and are NOT to be confused with psychosis or risk of harm to themselves or baby. Scary thoughts are unwanted and can occur at any time and often lead to intense stress, guilt or shame on the parent. These thoughts do not represent what a parent wants to do or wants to happen but are a manifestation of anxiety. These thoughts may also be associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which can occur during pregnancy or postpartum. This condition is treatable and typically responds very well to therapy and/or medication. Scary thoughts often decrease or go away once anxiety or OCD is treated.

Perinatal or Postpartum Depression

Perinatal depression includes depression that can happen at any time during pregnancy or up to 1 year postpartum (often called Postpartum Depression or PPD). Symptoms of perinatal depression may be: weepiness, feelings of guilt or shame, appetite changes, sleep disturbances, indifference towards baby or thoughts of harm to self or baby. Rage may be another common symptom of PPD that is often not identified. While these symptoms can be scary, if you are struggling with any of these symptoms, you are not alone. Treatment can include ways to manage shame, bond with baby, connecting with a support system and learn and apply self-care techniques.


Luckily, there is hope. With proper treatment and support you can feel better. Perinatal mood disorders are common and treatable. At Birch Tree Psychotherapy, Anna Netzel specializes in counseling parents with a range of pregnancy and postpartum conditions (e.g., Postpartum depression). She uses a combination of evidence-based treatments like, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), interpersonal therapy (IPT) and mindfulness to tailor treatment to each individual client. Trained through Postpartum Support International, Anna is a certified Perinatal Mental Health Specialist (PMH-C), uniquely qualified to work specifically with parents and families affected by perinatal mood disorders.