When pregnancy and giving birth bring unexpected feelings that can overwhelm mothers, we are here to help.

Understanding Perinatal depression

Perinatal depression describes a range of emotions pregnant and postpartum birthing person experience as they prepare for and welcome a new member of their family. Many people experience the “baby blues” postpartum (after they give birth). According to the National Institutes of Health, without proper care and support, some people in the pregnant and postpartum period begin to experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, isolation, and/or inadequacy that do not resolve
  • Feeling sad, hopeless, empty, or overwhelmed
  • Crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason
  • Worrying or feeling overly anxious
  • Feeling moody, irritable or restless
  • Emotion dysregulation
  • Oversleeping, or being unable to sleep even when baby is asleep
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Experiencing anger or rage
  • Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
  • Suffering from physical aches and pains, including frequent headaches, stomach problems, and muscle pain
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Withdrawing from or avoiding friends and family
  • Having trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment with one’s baby
  • Persistently doubting one’s ability to care for one’s baby
  • Thinking about harming oneself or one’s baby

These symptoms can signal the need for specialized intervention. The UCLA Perinatal Mental Health Program specializes in the assessment and treatment of a variety of psychological and developmental conditions and behaviors, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Perinatal onset obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder