Pregnancy is a time of excitement and joy and spending time with the infant can be a lot of fun, if quite exhausting. However, it is also rough on the mother, with an estimated 1 in 5 meeting criteria indicating they are suffering a mental health disorder while pregnant or soon after the delivery. More recently, mental health disorders have started to be considered one of the complications of pregnancy. The most common problems pregnant women and new mothers face include anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, bipolar illness, and postpartum psychosis. When these illnesses aren’t treated, they could become long-term problems, adversely affecting both the mother and her family’s life.
During May 2022, the US Health and Human Services Department started the Maternal Mental Health Hotline as a way to recognize mental health month. The hotline is also meant to help new fathers as the stress of a newborn can create mental health problems for both new parents. The new hotline has drawn commitments from a number of healthcare providers to offer more mental health services and attention for new parents, starting from the time when a member of a healthcare plan reports being pregnant. They are then provided information on what to expect and what to look for in terms of mental health, an aspect of pregnancy that was largely ignored until more recently. Families of those who are expecting are encouraged to get involved to support the mothers. This is meant as a measure to fight the stigma associated with mental health issues. Frank, open conversations are one way to help people better recognize potential issues early so that they can start treatment or learn how best to deal with the issues.
To learn more about the mental health of expectant mothers and new parents, you can read the full article at A Mental health Crisis Is Impacting Pregnant People and New Parents.