Help from a Perinatal Mental Health Therapist

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Woman holding and looking at her infant.A Perinatal Mental Health Therapist (PMH-C) is a certified specialist providing support during pregnancy and after birth. Their goals are to help in the prevention, early intervention, and treatment of people at risk of or experiencing perinatal distress. A PMH-C also supports families who have experienced birth trauma, pregnancy loss, and early infant loss. Perinatal Mental Health Therapists are certified by Postpartum Support International (PSI) and must meet educational and experience requirements before passing an exam for certification. They must also engage in continuing education to keep their credential current.

What is perinatal mental health?

Perinatal mental health issues occur during pregnancy and up through the first year after a baby is born. One area of perinatal mental health, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, is the #1 complication of childbirth affecting 1 in 5 people who have given birth. Because of its prevalence, it is incredibly important that someone meet with a mental health provider that specializes in this area.

What challenges does perinatal mental health cover?

Most commonly people think of postpartum depression, however there are other challenges that can occur both during and after pregnancy, affecting mental health. Some PMH-C’s may also support additional reproductive health challenges such as infertility. Perinatal Mental Health Therapists may specialize in a variety of areas, including:

  • Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) such as:
    • perinatal anxiety
    • perinatal depression
    • perinatal OCD
    • postpartum PTSD
    • perinatal bipolar disorder
    • postpartum psychosis
  • Traumatic births
  • Trauma due to baby in the NICU
  • Miscarriage
  • Early Infant loss

A PMH-C may not specialize in all these areas, so it’s important to seek out someone who has experience with the challenge you are experiencing.

Who can experience perinatal distress?

Anyone who is involved in the birthing process could potentially experience a perinatal mental health challenge. This includes adoptive parents, surrogates, and partners of birthing persons.

Where can I find a Perinatal Mental Health Therapist near me?

There are several ways to find a perinatal mental health therapist near you.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a perinatal depression or anxiety and live in California or Texas, please contact me.

Please note that this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from a doctor or mental health professional.