Prenatal & Postpartum Mental Health
Find support from the knowledgeable team at Wayne UNC Health Care if you experience depression, anxiety, or other symptoms of a mental health condition during and after pregnancy.
Are You in Crisis?
Support is available 24/7 for any mental health emergency. If you’re concerned for yourself or a loved one:
Get help right away if you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
What Are Perinatal Mood Disorders?
During pregnancy and after your baby is born, it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions. Pregnancy can be joyful and stressful, and so can caring for a newborn while recovering from birth. But If you have symptoms that are severe, worsening, or last longer than two weeks, it could be signs of a perinatal mood disorder. Perinatal mood disorders are treatable mental health conditions that can happen during pregnancy and up to a year after delivery.
Causes & Risk Factors
Anyone can develop a perinatal mood disorder, and you aren’t to blame if you have symptoms. There’s no single cause or reason they happen, but you may have a higher risk if you have:
- Experienced mental health conditions like depression or anxiety in the past, especially during or after a previous pregnancy
- Family history of mood disorders
- Lack of support from family members or friends
- Personal history of severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
- Personal history of trauma
Prenatal & Postpartum Mental Health Conditions
Learn the signs of perinatal mood disorders, and reach out to Wayne UNC’s specialists if you need help.
Anxiety can interfere with your daily tasks and affect your quality of life. Talk to a doctor if you experience:
- Constant or severe worrying, which may include feelings of fear about your health or the safety of your baby
- Panic attacks, which can cause physical symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, feelings of losing control, and numbness or tingling
Many women are diagnosed for the first time with bipolar disorder during or after pregnancy. This condition has two mood phases: lows (depression) and highs (mania or hypomania). There are different types of bipolar disorder, and talking to your doctor and loved ones about any patterns or phases of your symptoms can help identify if you have a specific type.
Prenatal or postpartum depression (PPD) may cause symptoms like:
- Anger or irritability
- Changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Feelings of guilt, shame, or hopelessness
- Lack of interest in your baby or activities you usually enjoy
- Trouble concentrating
- Thoughts of hurting yourself
What are the Baby Blues?
After giving birth, many women experience the “baby blues” due to hormone changes, stress, lack of sleep, and exhaustion. The baby blues can come and go and cause you to feel sad or overwhelmed. Usually, the baby blues start in the first few days after delivery, then peak for about a week, and go away within two weeks. Symptoms that are severe or last longer could be due to postpartum depression.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD that happens during or after pregnancy can cause you to have repetitive, scary, and unwanted thoughts. You may feel the need to do certain behaviors over and over to reduce the anxiety caused by those thoughts.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Past trauma or a traumatic or frightening childbirth can trigger PTSD. Symptoms include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Flashbacks (disturbing memories of the event)
- Avoidance of things related to the event
Seek help right away if you or someone else has signs of postpartum psychosis:
- Feeling distrustful of others or paranoid
- Hallucinations (seeing things or hearing things that others can’t)
- Memory loss
- Mania, which means extreme energy, intense moods, over-activity, or delusions
When & How to Get Help
Help is available, and you deserve nonjudgmental support. If you have symptoms of a perinatal mood disorder:
Plan to share:
- Symptoms you’re experiencing and how often
- How long you’ve been feeling this way
- How your symptoms affect your life and ability to do daily tasks
You can stay near your home in the Goldsboro area while accessing high-quality mental and behavioral health services from Wayne UNC. Rely on your care provider to evaluate symptoms, diagnose your condition, and recommend treatment options tailored to your needs and goals.
You and your physician will work together to create a personalized plan to improve your mood and manage symptoms. Count on your doctor to listen and answer any questions you have.
Depending on your diagnosis, your plan may include:
- Counseling – Talk therapy with a compassionate, mental health professional who specializes in perinatal mood disorders
- Medications – Antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, some of which are safer to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding
- Getting help from loved ones so you can take time to rest and practice self-care
Support Groups & Resources
Take advantage of community resources, including many free options, offering services, tools, and social connections to boost your mental and emotional wellness.
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H.E.A.R.T. for Moms Support Group
Participate in free, monthly support group sessions led by licensed professional counselors with training in perinatal mood disorders. The group meets:
- First Wednesday of every month at Living Waters Counseling (696-C N Spence Ave. in Goldsboro)
- First and third Wednesday of every month at 10:30 a.m. at Wayne Pregnancy Center (3501 East Ash St. in Goldsboro)
Nonprofit Pregnancy Center in Goldsboro
Wayne Pregnancy Center is a local organization not affiliated with Wayne UNC that offers:
- Free counseling services, ultrasounds, parenting and childbirth classes, and more
- Free parenting and childbirth classes
- MOPS Motherhood Support Group on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month
Visit the Wayne Pregnancy Center’s website to learn more.
Partnership for Children of Wayne County
Call 919-735-3371 or visit the Partnership for Children of Wayne County website to discover child care, early learning, pre-k, and other resources that may be right for your family.
Postpartum Support International (PSI)
- Free, weekly online support groups
- Free helpline providing information, support, and resources. Call 1-800-944-4773 or send a text to 503-894-9453.
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Resources
If you’re a service member or military family member, contact:
- Family Advocacy Program at 919-722-1878 to learn more about their New Parent Support Program
- Base chaplain at 919-722-0315
- Military and family life counselors at 919-886-3346 or 919-722-1123
Connect with other new parents who can relate to your experiences. Take part in “Moms, Pops, and Tots,” an online support group meeting at 10 a.m. on Mondays. To find out how to join, call 919-722-1878 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wayne UNC Resources
Explore parenting resources from Wayne UNC.
Climb Out of the Darkness
Wayne UNC supports new parents and provides resources to the community through the annual Climb Out of the Darkness event. This community walk raises funds for Postpartum Support International (PSI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping pregnant women and postpartum families worldwide.
Held near the solstice (the longest, brightest day of the year), the global event brings people together to shine a light on a darkness we often don’t speak about: perinatal mood disorders. We share stories of hope and celebrate recovery, raise awareness, and give a voice to those who no longer have one, walking together to symbolize our “climb” out of the darkness. Visit Climb Out of the Darkness – Team Southeastern NC’s Facebook page to learn more.