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Perinatal Mood Disorders

Perinatal Mood Disorders

So you are pregnant or have a new baby! Now what? For many, expecting a baby or transitioning to the role of new parent can be overwhelming and even stressful. Often others ask how the baby is doing, but who asks about the person who gave birth to the baby? We do!

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) include depression, anxiety, rage, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) during pregnancy and the postpartum period, often called the perinatal period. Birthing people with a history of depression or anxiety are more likely to have a PMAD. On the other hand, the perinatal period may be the first time that symptoms arise. Did you know that depression and/or anxiety affect 1 in 7 birthing people and up to 1 in 10 fathers and partners? These statistics only include the people who ask for help when they are not feeling like themselves emotionally. Many more suffer in silence.

PMAD can have significant effects on the entire family. For this reason, New Jersey law requires that those who have just given birth be screened for postpartum depression (PPD) before leaving the hospital or birthing center. Screening is also required at the first few postpartum visits. Additionally, law requires that prospective and new parents (and their families if available) receive education on some of the signs of PPD and how to access help.

Through funding from the New Jersey Department of Health, Central Jersey Family Health Consortium (CJFHC) offers the Pregnancy & Postpartum Wellness Program in order to support birthing people who have concerns about how they are feeling emotionally during the perinatal period. We provide emotional support, information regarding support groups for new parents, and referral to counseling services if desired. All services are provided free of charge. (We do not, however, provide behavioral health counseling directly.) In short, we want to know “How are you REALLY doing?”

Self-referral is encouraged. A bilingual staff member is available for those who speak Spanish. Interpretation services for other languages is also available.

Please contact the Program Manager at (732) 937-5437 ext. 179 or with any questions.


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