Perinatal depression refers to depression occurring during pregnancy or after childbirth. The use of the term perinatal recognizes that depression associated with having a baby often begins during pregnancy. (Postpartum depression refers to depression experienced after childbirth.)
Perinatal depression is a serious, but treatable medical illness involving feelings of extreme sadness, indifference and/or anxiety, as well as changes in energy, sleep, and appetite. It carries risks for the mother and child. An estimated one in seven women experiences perinatal depression (Dave, et al 2010).
For most pregnant and postpartum individuals, having a baby is a very exciting, joyous, and often anxious time. But for people with perinatal depression, it can become very distressing and difficult. Pregnancy and the period after delivery can be a particularly vulnerable time. Mothers often experience biological, emotional, financial, and social changes during this time. Some individuals can be at an increased risk for developing mental health problems, particularly depression and anxiety.