Pregnancy & Postpartum Care
One of the areas that Dr. Jessica Bauer has made a name for herself is in Perinatal Mental health and the prevention and treatment of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). Jessica is committed to providing her clients evidence-based treatments for PMADs. Perinatal Mental Health encompasses a woman’s mental health during pregnancy and one year after the birth. The wellbeing of the woman during pregnancy and after the birth can have a positive impact on both the mother and the baby. PMADs can take away the mother’s ability to enjoy motherhood and it is important for mothers to get the support they need.
Dr. Jessica Bauer works closely with OB/GYNs, Midwives and Doulas in Atlanta in order to take a holistic approach. Pregnancy and the journey into motherhood can elicit a range of emotions and can be overwhelming. If you are struggling, please reach out for support. You are not alone.
TABLE OF CONTENTSCommon Parent Concerns Common Therapy Focuses Benefits From Counseling Parent Frequently Asked Questions I have noticed my partner is struggling but I don’t know what to do? Does this mean that I am a bad mom? How do I know if I meet the criteria for a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder? Will I have to take medication? Can I take my baby to therapy? What are perinatal mood and anxiety disorders? The disorders related to pregnancy include: Depression during pregnancy and postpartum Depression vs Baby Blues Anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum Postpartum OCD Postpartum PTSD Postpartum Psychosis
- Why do I feel so conflicted when this is supposed to be a happy time?
- Are all parents this overwhelmed?
- How come I don’t feel connected with my child?
- Are my symptoms normal? Is this baby blues or postpartum depression?
- What can I do for my partner who appears to have postpartum depression?
- How come parenthood has been so challenging for me?
If you have asked yourself some of these questions, you or a loved one may be suffering from a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder.
- Perinatal mood disorders (Depression, Anxiety, OCD, PSTD, and Psychosis)
- Breastfeeding/formula support
- Weaning support
- Bonding and attachment after the birth
- Support and healing after a traumatic birth experience
- Co-parenting issues or parental conflict
- High-risk pregnancy/birth and NICU experiences
- Pregnancy loss
- Increased self-worth
- Developing healthy coping strategies
- Learning how to set healthy boundaries
- Decrease in depressive or anxiety symptoms
- Establishing more self-confidence in your role as mother
- Improved connectedness with others
I have noticed my partner is struggling but I don’t know what to do?
If you have noticed your partner is withdrawing from you or the baby, it is important to seek help to see if your partner is suffering from a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder. While it can be easy to rationalize the symptoms away, it is crucial to have an evaluation done to evaluate for PMADs. During the first session, Dr. Jessica Bauer will do a comprehensive clinical interview to determine an accurate diagnosis and discuss treatment options. You can reference the resources page for additional resources.
Does this mean that I am a bad mom?
It is common for women to feel that they are bad moms when they experience mood and anxiety symptoms. But it is NOT TRUE. Therapy is helpful in addressing these negative thoughts and helping women establish healthier ways of coping with their symptoms. You don’t have to suffer alone. Please reach out and get the support you deserve.
How do I know if I meet the criteria for a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder?
It can be overwhelming experiencing mood or anxiety symptoms and it can be hard to tell exactly what is going on. The best course of action is to meet with a psychologist and complete a first session where the psychologist will complete a diagnostic interview with you. Then it will be explained if you meet the criteria for a PMAD. While it can be easy to google symptoms, it is always best to get a diagnosis from a trained professional.
Will I have to take medication?
It is up to you whether or not you want to take medication. When Dr. Jessica Bauer meets with clients, she will explore the client’s feelings regarding medications and discuss the options based on several factors including severity of symptoms, access and openness to therapy, and support system. She will then refer to medical professionals for further evaluation. Therapy is the place where you explore your thoughts and feelings around medications. The medical professionals (PCP, psychiatrist) will help evaluate medications that will be appropriate given current symptoms and diagnoses. If you decide to take medication, that does not make you less of a parent. It is important to take care of your mental health.
Can I take my baby to therapy?
Yes, your baby is welcome to both individual and group therapy. This makes it easier and more convenient for new moms to get the support they need.
What are perinatal mood and anxiety disorders?
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are mental health disorders that occur during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum. The disorders that related to PREGNANCY including infertility, pregnancy loss and mood and anxiety symptoms during pregnancy. The disorders related to the POSTPARTUM period include postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, postpartum PTSD and postpartum psychosis.
Depression during pregnancy and postpartum
- Feelings of sadness and emptiness more days than not
- Difficulty bonding with baby
- Frequent crying
- Loss of energy nearly all day
- Disturbances in sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Increased irritability or anger
- Increase in negative thoughts of guilt or shame
- Loss of interest in activities you enjoy
- Isolation from others
- Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby
Depression vs Baby Blues
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Appetite changes
Symptoms last a few days to a couple of weeks after the birth. Symptoms of depression last more than a couple of weeks.
Anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum
- Excessive worrying
- Difficulty in controlling the worry
- Racing thoughts
- Changes in sleep
- Difficulty sitting still or feeling on edge
- Easily fatigued
- Obsessions / Intrusive thoughts (repetitive thoughts or mental images related to the baby that are upsetting)
- Compulsions (doing things over and over again in order to reduce fears and obsessions such as checking on the baby repeatedly and removing items from your home that relate to the intrusive thoughts)
- Fear of being alone with baby
- Hypervigilance regarding the baby’s wellbeing
- Clients with postpartum OCD know their thoughts are bizarre and they are at a very low risk of harming their child.
Exposure to any of, but not limited to, the following past traumatic experiences can lead to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Unplanned C-section
- High risk birth
- Baby going in to the NICU
- Feelings of powerless during the birth or poor communication
- Physical complications during delivery
Symptoms of Postpartum PTSD include:
- Intrusive and repetitive thoughts regarding the distressing memories of the event
- Recurrent distressing dreams
- Avoidance of distressing memories
- Negative beliefs about oneself (“maybe I did something wrong”)
- Feelings of detachment
Symptoms are usually sudden and within a few weeks of the birth.
- Delusions (strange beliefs)
- Rapid mood wings
- Disorganized speech (incoherence)
It is important to note that generally women who are suffering from postpartum psychosis are not in touch with reality and the women will believe their delusions or beliefs. It is important that women suffering from postpartum psychosis get assessed and treated as quickly as possible. Please call your doctor or the emergency hotlines I have listed on my resources page.