My expertise in maternal mental health started in 1987 when a female psychiatrist I officed next to, asked me to see my first postpartum mom. I was not yet a mom myself, but I knew the importance of moms and parents on their babies and toddlers from my undergraduate degree in developmental psychology. I wanted to have the opportunity to counsel moms and families as they were beginning to prioritize their mental health and well-being so their children would be happy and healthy-mind and body.
Now, more than three decades later, we know how big an impact maternal mental health has on a mom, her baby and her family. Research shows that up to 20% of moms will experience depression during the perinatal period which includes pregnancy and the first year after childbirth and that 13-21% of moms will experience anxiety. This is also, true of moms that are undergoing fertility treatments, experiencing pregnancy loss or adopting a child. We know that pregnancy and postpartum increase a woman’s chances of having clinical depression and anxiety and that if a mom doesn’t get the help she needs to fully recover, then mom and baby will experience negative outcomes.
For all moms, self-care practices and stress reduction skills are important to maintain mind-body health and well-being. Explore this website to learn more about self-care and what you can do to thrive as a mom, and practice stress reduction skills to ease anxiety, worry and self-criticism. Contact Dr. Sanford if you have a question about your pregnancy or postpartum emotional health and if you’re concerned about your life stress and emotional health and what you can do to feel better.