Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are highly treatable. However, when left untreated, the effects on the fetus, newborn, developing child and family can be profound. Research suggests that the following interventions may prevent or lessen the intensity and duration of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders:
- Early detection of symptoms present in pregnancy or the postpartum period.
- Arranging for emotional support for mothers when symptoms are anticipated or present, including, but not limited to, immediate connection with other mothers and time alone or with a partner.
- Planning for practical support, including, but not limited to, food preparation, care of other children in the home, and providing time and space for the new mother to sleep.
- Limiting highly conflict ridden familial relationships and finding support form community services.
- Psychotherapeutic interventions centered on improving maternal competence and the quality of bonding between the mother and the baby. These interventions include Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Interaction Guidance, Child Parent Psychotherapy, the Family Meeting and support groups.
- Involving family member and community in treatment. This increases compliance with care and results in better outcomes.
- Intervening early in breastfeeding difficulties. For some mothers, breastfeeding can afford protection by lowering the stress response. However, breastfeeding is only protective as long as it is a positive experience.
- Providing additional support and counseling during pregnancy and the postpartum period including pre-pregnancy consultation, medication management, and pscyhotherapeutic interventions.
To find informed treatment for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders within Los Angeles County, please visit the Maternal Mental Heath Resource Directory.