Perinatal Depression


Though the Postpartum Blues and Postpartum Depression are commonly known mental health issues associated with pregnancy, much less is discussed about depression IN pregnancy.  Depression among pregnant women, called Perinatal Depression, affects over 15% of women.

Depression, the most common mood disorder in the general population, is approximately twice as common in women as in men, with its initial onset peaking during the reproductive-age years. Therefore, it is not surprising that perinatal depression, which includes major and minor depressive episodes that occur during pregnancy occurs so frequently.  Anxiety and insomnia are also more common mental health changes in women in pregnancy.   Perinatal depression and anxiety often go unrecognized because changes in sleep, appetite, and libido may be attributed to normal pregnancy.  Some women aren’t comfortable sharing their feelings of depression and anxiety with their physicians.  But what we do know is that depression and anxiety that go untreated can have affects on how healthy a pregnancy, mom and baby do in the long run.

Risk factors for mood disorders in pregnancy:

  • Maternal anxiety
  • Life stress
  • History of depression
  • Lack of social support
  • Unintended pregnancy
  • Medicaid insurance
  • Domestic violence
  • Lower income
  • Lower education
  • Smoking
  • Single status
  • Poor relationship quality


The truth is, there is lots that can be done to help alleviate depression, anxiety and mood disorders in pregnancy.  Some of it is very minor, reviewing life changes, use of resources to alleviate some of the life stressors causing these problems.  There are also many therapists and psychiatrists who have training in helping women in pregnancy with mood issues.  And some of the medications used to treat women with depression and anxiety outside of pregnancy are quite safe in the pregnant and/or nursing woman.  

Getting better starts with getting help.  If you are feeling depressed, anxious, or not quite right in pregnancy, bring it up with you OB/GYN.   That’s the first step to reaching a diagnosis and getting the resources you need to feel better and have a healthier pregnancy and postpartum.



El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems.   Drs. Amy TengErika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery.   Dr. Erika Balassiano is also a graduate of the Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship at Stanford University, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.


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