During and After Pregnancy: A Resource for Women, Their
Families, and Friends
If I Have Perinatal Depression, What Can I Do?
Some women may find it hard talking about Perinatal
Depression. They may be unsure if they have it or how
to discuss it. They may wish to deal with their problem
secretly and hope that it goes away on its own.
These feelings are more common than one would expect.
However, every woman must realize that she is not alone.
Perinatal Depression affects thousands of women and
can be treated successfully. It is possible to feel
better. Here are some things that can help.
- Lean on Family and Friends
There are many ways that family and friends can help
you. A few hours of weekly child care can give you
a much-needed break. Get help cleaning the house or
running errands. When you share your feelings openly
with friends and family, it allows them to provide
the important support that you need.
- Talk to a Health Care Professional
Screening for Perinatal Depression should be a routine
part of your health care during and after pregnancy.
Health care professionals— such as your doctor,
your baby’s doctor, a nurse, or other health
care provider—are familiar with Perinatal Depression.
They know ways to help, and can explain your options
to you. An easy way to raise the subject is to bring
this booklet with you to the provider’s office.
Show the items that you checked and discuss them.
Say that you were reading the booklet and some of
it sounds familiar to you. If you feel that your provider
does not understand what you are going through, please
do not give up. There are many excellent providers
who do understand Perinatal Depression, who are ready
to listen to you, and who can put you on the road
- Find a Support Group
Although you may not know it, there are probably other
women in your community suffering from Perinatal Depression.
Finding them can give you a chance to learn from others
and to share your own feelings. Ask your health care
professional how to find and join a support group.
- Talk to a Mental Health Care Professional
Many mental health professionals have special training
to help women with Perinatal Depression. They can
give you a safe place to express your feelings and
help you find the best ways to manage and even get
rid of your symptoms. When choosing counselors or
other professionals, ask if they have experience in
treating Perinatal Depression. They have helped other
women with depression and they can help you too!
- Focus on Wellness
An important step toward treating Perinatal Depression
is taking care of your body. A healthy diet combined
with exercise can help you gain your lost energy and
feel strong. Consider these suggestions:
In addition, by prioritizing the most important
things in your life and letting go of what is
least important, you can clear your mind to focus
on your own health and well-being.
Eat breakfast in the morning to start your day
Eat a variety of foods from all food groups, including
two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables
Choose healthy snacks like non-fat milk, yogurt,
fruit, and nuts.
Avoid alcohol use.
Invite your friends to go on walks in your neighborhood
or to the park.
Try a new activity, such as swimming or biking.
Take time to stretch and strengthen your muscles.
- Take Medication as Recommended by Your Health
Sometimes medications are necessary in the treatment
of depression. As with any medications or medical
treatment, you should talk to your health care provider
about which medication, if any, may be best for you.
Become an educated consumer and find out information
about treatment options.
Some of the symptoms sounded
just like me. I knew it was important
to talk to my doctor.
When my doctor suggested
taking medicine, I wasn’t
sure. But it turned out to be
the best decision for me. I
feel so much better now.