Pregnancy and motherhood is a time in a woman’s life that brings about so many life changes, emotions and new experiences. Many of these new changes can be filled with immense joy, but it is equally as common for individuals to encounter challenges during this time.
Research shows that 80% of mothers experience “baby blues” in the first few days after childbirth, and 1 in 7 develop postpartum depression or anxiety within the first year. Although postpartum mental health disorders are common, there are often social stigmas and myths that can prevent women from being diagnosed and receiving the care they need which can include counseling. There are several factors that contribute to perinatal mood disorders including physical, psychosocial and concurrent stressors. Some of these factors include genetic predisposition, history of mental health disorders, sensitivity to hormonal changes, lack of support system, perfectionism, lack of sleep, poor diet, interpersonal stress, and cultural stress. Rates of PPD and PPA have also risen throughout COVID. One study indicates that 1 in 3 new mothers reported postpartum depression amidst the pandemic. This drastic increase in prevalence highlights the importance of receiving adequate and consistent prenatal care and having access to a support system.