Therapy for Perinatal Mental Health
Counselling can be an important part of your perinatal journey. Whether you are trying to conceive and struggling, going through a difficult medical journey, pregnant and wanting to be proactive with your mental health, or have experienced a loss or difficult birth...you are not alone.
Perinatal Counselling (Fertility, Pregnancy, Postpartum, Pregnancy Loss)
Perinatal mental health refers to the mental health of individuals during pregnancy and in the year following childbirth. Our practice also recognizes the difficulty many people embark on trying to conceive. We also believe in the importance of providing support for women and those who identify as women on a fertility journey. We know for many people, getting pregnant or staying pregnant is very difficult. We offer support for those who have experienced miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth, other pregnancy losses, or infant loss.
Perinatal mental health care involves identifying and addressing mental health concerns during this period, which can range from mild anxiety or depression to more severe conditions like postpartum psychosis.
The perinatal period can be a time of significant transition and stress, and mental health concerns are common. Approximately 1 in 5 women experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), and rates of depression and anxiety are even higher among individuals who have experienced pregnancy loss, fertility challenges, or difficulties with breastfeeding. However, despite the prevalence of these conditions, many people do not receive the support and treatment they need.
How Counselling Can Help With Perinatal Challenges:
Counselling can help individuals identify sources of stress, symptoms of anxiety and develop strategies for managing them. This might include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors, internal family systems (IFS) which looks at people as a system of parts lead by a core Self, interpersonal therapy (IPT), which focuses on improving interpersonal relationships and communication, or humanistic style therapies that allow time to sit with people in their grief and process emotions deeply.
The perinatal period can be a time of significant stress, with new responsibilities and demands on a person's time and energy. Counselling can provide tools for managing stress, such as mindfulness or relaxation techniques, and help individuals identify strategies for prioritizing self-care.
Individuals who have experienced trauma, such as a difficult childbirth or pregnancy loss, may benefit from counselling to process their experiences and develop coping skills. Trauma-focused therapies can be particularly effective in treating trauma-related symptoms.
Counselling can also be helpful for partners and family members who may be struggling with their own mental health concerns or adjusting to the new demands of parenthood. Family therapy or couples therapy can provide a safe space to address relationship challenges and improve communication.
Overall, perinatal mental health care is essential for promoting the well-being of individuals and families during this critical time. If you are struggling with perinatal mental health concerns, reaching out to a qualified mental health professional can be an important step towards healing and recovery.
American Psychological Association. (2017). Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders. https://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/depression/mood-anxiety
National Institute of Mental Health. (2021). Perinatal Depression. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/perinatal-depression/index.shtml
Postpartum Support International. (n.d.). Counseling. https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/counseling/
Yonkers, K. A., Blackwell, K. A., Glover, J., Forray, A., & Doherty, D. (2014). Antidepressant use in pregnant and postpartum women. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 10, 369-392.