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Perinatal Mood Disorders

Perinatal Mood Disorders (PMD) is the name given to a wide range of emotional and physical reactions to pregnancy and childbirth.

As many as one in five mothers will have a Perinatal Mood Disorder during pregnancy or sometime in the first year after the birth of a baby. Dads and adoptive parents can also be affected.

A woman with a Perinatal Mood Disorder may feel anxious, sad, overwhelmed and unable to cope. Some of these feelings are common in pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth, but with PMD, they last longer than a few days and are present most of the time. A checkup with a doctor is a good first step to rule out any medical problems.

It is important for women to talk to their health care providers about how they are coping emotionally with pregnancy and new motherhood. If they are struggling, help is available. A woman experiencing PMD cannot "pull herself together" any more than she could if she had diabetes or heart disease. The support of family and friends helps in recovery.

For Professionals