PERINATAL MOOD AND ANXIETY DISORDERS (PMAD) Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder is the most under-diagnosed, under-treated, and under-reported obstetric complication in America. Every year more than 600,000 babies are born to mothers who suffer from Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder. This can lead to child abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. It has also been shown to affect early brain development, and higher medical costs.

Perinatal includes the time before and after birth, from preconception up to the 1st year postpartum. Perinatal mood disorders are the spectrum of emotional disorders, ranging from mile to severe, related to having a baby. They are highly treatable.


A Spectrum of symptoms includes Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar (I & II) and Postpartum Psychosis.

Mild symptoms, also known as Baby Blues, occur in 60-80% of mothers. They include crying, feeling overwhelmed with motherhood, and being uncertain… due to extreme hormone fluctuations. They can also include acute sleep deprivation and fatigue, but mostly her mood is happiness. The “Baby Blues” usually lasts no more than 2 days to 2 weeks.

More severe symptoms occur in 10-20% of new mothers (50-80% if they have had Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder in a previous pregnancy). This includes feeling overwhelmed, sad, tearful, excessively worried, irritable, angry, problems with sleeping, problems with appetite, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of worthlessness, worry, anxiety, and being either overly concerned or lacking concern for the baby.

THERE IS HELP ‘You are not alone. You are not to blame. With help, you will be well.’
~Postpartum Support International.
Helpline: (800) 944-4773 24/7 English & Spanish.

East Valley Perinatal Network in partnership with Women’s Health Innovations of Arizona & Pregnancy Care Center of Chandler and Gilbert
(480) 339-7119

Mercy Gilbert Medical Center has a 6 week therapeutic program for pregnant and postpartum women. For information Contact Gia Marchisano, Program Coordinator (480)728-3396 Email:

Screening and early intervention can protect the mother’s well-being, as well as that of the baby and the entire family. There are a variety of treatments available, and scientific evidence on their effectiveness.

Long-Term effects if left untreated

Without appropriate intervention, poor maternal mental health can have long term adverse effects for mother, child, and family.
• Increased risk of infant death, preterm delivery, and low birth weight • Psychiatric, behavioral, and social problems • Impaired cognitive and language development • Child neglect and abuse, infanticide, suicide, and chronic depression • Direct impact on the mother’s partner, who may feel overwhelmed, confused, and angry, afraid she will never be well. In addition, about 10% of new fathers also have mood or anxiety problems. • Estimates of untreated mental health costs are more than $100 Billion annually o Disability, unemployment, divorce, child abuse, medical care, suicide/homicide o Birth complications from lack of prenatal care with women with depression

• Mental health problems are medical problems.