What are Perinatal Mood Disorders?

Perinatal Mood Disorders are the range of conditions and symptoms that can affect mothers during pregnancy and the first year after the child is born. These conditions include:

  • Depression/Anxiety in pregnancy (15-21%)
  • Postpartum Depression (21%); Low income women and teens may be as high as 60%
  • Perinatal Panic Disorder (11%)
  • Perinatal Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (11%)
  • Postpartum Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (9%)
  • Perinatal Bipolar Disorder: It is estimated 70% of women with bipolar disorder who stop medication become ill during the pregnancy.
  • Postpartum Psychosis: 1-2 of every 1000 births.

EvergreenHealth’s vision is to provide outpatient services and access for women who are pregnant, intrapartum, antepartum, and/or postpartum who are identified as having or being at risk for any of the above conditions. While experiencing anxiety, depression, or any condition above, it is difficult to arrange and pay for care. Often, the counseling care is cash pay (upwards of $400 per visit in the King county market ) and/or Counselors only may take commercial payers.  The wait list to see some counselors initially can be over one month.  The self-pay and government insured patients and those who are considered working poor may not have accessible mental health services. EvergreenHealth’s program will be a way to provide these much needed resources to those who screen positive for any of these conditions regardless of their insurance coverage.

EvergreenHealth currently delivers about 4,500 babies each year and of those, just over 1,000 women are dealing with some form of perinatal mood disorder. In addition, approximately 10% of new fathers/partners may also be experiencing depression, mood, or anxiety problems. Identifying and providing support and resources early is essential to building happy and healthy families.

Patient services in this program will include: 

  1. Therapy groups targeting specific pregnant populations, led by experienced social workers. This may include a group for women who have experienced trauma prior to pregnancy.
  2. “Bringing Baby Home”- a class series that teaches pregnant and parenting couples the skills to decrease postpartum depression, relationship conflict, and hostility.
  3. Conversations about Motherhood- a local community support group that specifically targets the real life experience of being a mother.
  4. Listening Mothers Group
  5. Postpartum Doula Support
  6. A support group specifically for fathers/partners who are experiencing a perinatal mood disorder
  7. Inpatient support for parents in the antepartum unit (long-term bed-rest prior to delivery) and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (specialized care unit for babies born pre-term)*

*Patients in these units have an average stay of 1 to 3 months and are at high risk for anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.