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Mental Health and Wellness in Pregnancy and Parenthood

Pregnancy or having a baby is not always easy. The adjustment to parenthood can be challenging for many families. This can lead to mood changes or even perinatal mood disorders (PMD).


What is Perinatal Mental Illness (PMI)?

Perinatal Mental Illness is a group of illnesses such as prenatal anxiety or depression, postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety disorders or postpartum psychosis. PMI begins in pregnancy and up to one year after birth or adoption of a baby. It can happen to either parent.

  • Depression during pregnancy puts a woman at higher risk of experiencing postpartum depression
  • One in five mothers may experience postpartum depression
  • One in 10 men may experience depression in the first year postpartum
  • Postpartum psychosis is rare and occurs in one to two per 1000 births

More information:

pregnancy,perinatal mood disorder,parenthood,mental health,depression The Regional Municipality of York en-US

How do I know that I need help?

If you are experiencing the following symptoms every day for two weeks, you should talk to a medical professional:

  • Crying
  • Appetite changes
  • Insomnia
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Fear or feelings of guilt
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Inability concentrating or in decision making
  • Lack of bonding with your baby
  • Racing thoughts
  • Thoughts or ideas of hurting yourself or baby

Perinatal mental illnesses are medical conditions and can lead to serious consequences if left unnoticed or untreated. You are not alone. Get help early.

pregnancy,perinatal mood disorder,parenthood,mental health,depression The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Where can I go for help?

  • York Region Public Health Transition to Parenting Program
  • Talk to your health care provider
  • Call a 24-hour crisis line or hotline:
    • Community Crisis Response Service: 1-855-310-COPE (2673)
    • Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000
    • Ontario Mental Health Helpline: 1-866-531-2600
  • York Region offers support for families through the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program
pregnancy,perinatal mood disorder,parenthood,mental health,depression The Regional Municipality of York en-US

How can I take care of myself?

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Rest and take breaks
  • Connect with helpful family members/ friends
  • Allow yourself to ask for help
  • Take time for exercise
  • Take moments for yourself
  • Self-care plan

Your family benefits when you take care of yourself. Time for yourself will give you more energy and patience to provide loving and responsive care.

pregnancy,perinatal mood disorder,parenthood,mental health,depression The Regional Municipality of York en-US

How can family and friends help?

  • Accept and acknowledge the person’s feelings
  • Offer help in house chores or baby care
  • Encourage the person to rest or exercise
  • Help the person to think positively or focus on positive thoughts
  • Provide support in getting assessment and treatment
  • Partners may need to be aware of their own feelings and self-care

Your acceptance and support means a lot to the person who is struggling with perinatal mental illnesses.

pregnancy,perinatal mood disorder,parenthood,mental health,depression The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Related Resources

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