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Perinatal Mental Health (PMH)

Mental Health is an important part of health and well-being. The perinatal period is the time from pregnancy to childbirth to the first year postpartum. Mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, as well as other disorders, can be experienced during this time. Poor mental health in the perinatal period has a negative impact on the mother's daily life and on the infant's mental health. Partners and children can struggle too.  It can affect anyone in the family.

If you have thoughts about harming yourself, your baby, or others, you should seek help from a healthcare professional immediately.

You may...

  • Feel sad or numb
  • Be tearful or cry a lot
  • Feel exhausted, but not able to sleep
  • Have changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Feel overwhelmed and can’t concentrate
  • Feel anxious or can’t stop worrying 
  • Seek constant reassurance from others or the internet
  • Have no interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Feel hopeless or worthless
  • Feel restless, irritable or angry
  • Feel guilty and ashamed
  • Avoid spending time with family and friends
  • Have thoughts of hurting yourself or others

If your symptoms continue or get worse, speak to your healthcare professional. 

Date of creation: December 1, 2017
Last modified on: June 22, 2018


1BC Reproductive Mental Health Program. (2014). Best practice guidelines for mental health disorders in the perinatal period. Retrieved from
2Canadian Pediatric Society. (2017, March). Depression in pregnant women and mothers: How it affects you and your child. Retrieved from
3Government of Canada. (2016, May 26). Depression during pregnancy. Retrieved from
4Haensel, H., & Parkinson, S. (2017). Mothering the mother: Caring for mother’s mental health to optimize infant attachment and development. [PowerPoint slides].
5Haring, M., Smith, J. E., Bodnar, D., Misri, S., Little, R. M., & Ryan, D. (2013). Coping with anxiety during pregnancy and following the birth: A cognitive behavior therapy-based self-management guide for women and health care providers. Retrieved from