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Perinatal Mood Disorders

What are perinatal mood disorders?

These are mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression that affect pregnant women and new moms. They can interfere with day to day functioning and care of the baby.

Click here for more information about who is at risk, possible causes and symptoms. PDF

How do I talk to my health care provider about how I’m feeling?

Woman talking to doctorIt is important for all women to discuss their mental health and well-being with their health care provider during prenatal and postnatal checkups. It is especially important for women who have a current or a past history of depression or anxiety to talk with their doctor/midwife early in pregnancy.

  • Talk about your feelings with your family doctor, midwife, obstetrician or nurse (whomever you feel most comfortable with)
  • Schedule a longer appointment if you need to talk about your concerns
  • Make a list of your symptoms and bring these with you to your appointment so you do not forget to mention anything
  • Print information from this web site and take it with you to help begin the discussion
  • You may want to take your partner or a friend with you for support

What May Help?

A combination of some or all of the following options may work for you:

  • Counselling
  • Medication
  • Support from family and friends
  • Eating healthy, daily physical activity and adequate sleep
  • Attending a group with other moms having similar feelings
  • Yoga, massage, meditation

You are not alone.

It is not your fault.

Help is available.

It will get better.

Information for Dads

Dads can get postpartum depression too. They are even more at risk if their partner has a perinatal mood disorder. Many people are not aware of this fact and as a result, men with postpartum depression often suffer in silence.

For more information visit:

Where can I get help?

Some women may feel guilt and shame and may be afraid to tell partners, friends and even their health care provider about how they are feeling. But it is important to reach out for help. The following professionals/services are available to help:

A variety of other agencies in Durham Region provide support

  • Mental Health Services in Durham Region PDF
  • If counselling is recommended for you, refer to the service guide for agencies that provide this service. Some services are free, some are provided by OHIP, some may be provided by your employer (EAP), some are on a sliding fee scale and some may be covered by private insurance.
  • For a list of private psychologists, visit www.cpo.on.ca

Information for family and friends

The support of dads, partners, family and friends can help make a difference!

It is important to know that a woman affected by a Perinatal Mood Disorder needs a lot of understanding and support. She is not to blame for what she is going through. Perinatal Mood Disorders are treatable and they do get better.

For tips and advice for dads on how you can support your partners visit: