What is Perinatal Counseling?
Expecting a child is usually a time filled with joy and excitement, but so many new changes can also lead to feelings of isolation and stress. In fact, one in seven women are diagnosed with a mood or anxiety disorder during pregnancy or birth, and one in 10 men experience symptoms of depression.
Many are aware of the emotional effects that can occur after giving birth. Often termed the “baby blues,” it affects up to 80% of new moms. Symptoms include crying, feeling overwhelmed with motherhood, and being uncertain. However, baby blues last no more than two weeks after birth. If these symptoms are persistent during pregnancy, or more than two weeks after giving birth, it may be perinatal depression or anxiety. Perinatal refers to the time during pregnancy and the one year that follows birth.
Some signs to look for include the following:
Extreme lethargy that doesn’t improve after rest
Memory or concentration problems
Loss of enjoyment in once-pleasurable activities
Trouble feeling connected to your developing baby
How To Know If I Should Seek Perinatal Counseling?
The purpose of this screener is to provide a brief reference guide for the identification of specialized service needs. Adjustments and changes to typical routines and day-to-day life are part of pregnancy and postnatal times. To help best meet your needs during this time, a certified perinatal mental health provider can evaluate and assess your specific mental health needs and goals.
This questionnaire more broadly encompasses base-level indicators for postnatal depression, postnatal anxiety, and traumatic birth syndrome symptoms. This screener can be self-administered or administered by a provider, spouse, or friend.
Please remember that regardless of your screener results, proactive and maintenance counseling can be part of an integrative health plan to help you reach your wellness goals.
Please rate the below statements based on a scale of 1-4: 1 being strongly disagree, 2 being somewhat disagree, 3 being somewhat agree and 4 being strongly agree.
A) Postnatal depression symptoms
__ I regularly engage in activities that I enjoy.
__ My relationships are as strong as they were before pregnancy/childbirth.
__ I feel as happy as I did before pregnancy/childbirth.
__ I can acknowledge my strengths and appreciate myself as much as I did before pregnancy/childbirth.
B) Postnatal anxiety symptoms
__ I am able to accept my mistakes, and I do not dwell on them.
__ I let things go and do not spend time worrying about things I cannot control.
__ I feel as calm and centered as I did before pregnancy/childbirth.
__ I have the skills needed to manage concerns as they come up.
C) Traumatic birth symptoms
__ I had a positive birth experience.
__ I felt listened to and heard during my birth experience.
__ My wishes were respected during labor and delivery.
__ My providers and supporters met my needs during labor and delivery.
D) Recovery complication symptoms
__ I have recovered physically from labor and delivery.
__ I have recovered mentally and emotionally from labor and delivery.
__ I have the support needed to recover fully.
__ I have the resources needed to recover fully.
E) For pregnant women only
__ I appreciate my body as much as I did before I was pregnant.
__ I have a healthy perspective.
__ I have the emotional support I need to be well while pregnant.
__ I have the resources I need to be well while pregnant.
Scoring criteria for all indicated areas:
Scores of 3 and 4: Continue your current wellness plan. Continue to monitor symptoms using the screener as needed. Remember to seek a specialist if you feel it is needed, regardless of your scores.
Any scores of 1 or 2: Seek a perinatal specialist.
Caitlin is a Behavioral Health Clinician who helps clients guide themselves into deeper meaning and purpose for their lives. She focuses on finding resources, techniques, and coping skills on their journey for further fulfillment.
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