What is Perinatal Mental Health?

by | Aug 28, 2018

Perinatal mental health refers to a woman’s mental health during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Research reveals that 7%-15% of women suffer from antepartum depression, and approximately 10% of women experience post-partum depression. Along with depression, anxiety and trauma greatly influence a woman’s perinatal mental health. Perinatal mental health intervention is the earliest possible form of intervention for childhood mental health, children’s attachment to caregivers, children’s relationships with others and children’s relationships with their environments.

Several social determinants including socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and a lack of social support influence a woman’s risk of experiencing perinatal mental health issues and the likelihood that she will seek and receive adequate treatment. 

While the prevalence of suicide during pregnancy or postpartum in different contexts is unknown, perinatal mental health issues often lead to self-harm-one of the leading causes of woman’s death worldwide. Research has found associations between perinatal mental health issues and preterm delivery, low birth weight, impaired postnatal infant growth, insecure infant-mother attachments and suboptimal breastfeeding practices.