boober blog postpartum depression Olivia Bergeron

Why can therapy help prevent perinatal depression

why can therapy help prevent
perinatal depression


Did you read the latest news on preventing the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth? Back up…do you know what the most common complication actually IS? Diabetes? Nope. Preeclampsia? Try again. Believe it or not, perinatal (loosely defined as the time from pregnancy to postpartum) depression and anxiety are actually the most common ailments that women face during this time. Between 11 and 17% of pregnant and new moms suffer from depression and/or anxiety. The good news is that perinatal depression and anxiety are treatable AND, as we now know, preventable.

So what’s the latest news on actually preventing antenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety? It turns out that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is now recommending that at-risk pregnant and postpartum people receive counseling. Therapy–more so than other interventions like omega-3 supplements and exercise–has been proven successful at actually preventing depression and anxiety. Huzzah! Something that works!

Addressing perinatal depression and anxiety is key because of the ramifications for the whole family. Depressed parents are more likely to exhibit disengagement and hostility towards their children. As a consequence, their children are more likely to experience behavioral and learning difficulties. These parents are also less likely to play with their children, cease breastfeeding earlier and engage in preventative health care (i.e. vaccinations) at lower rates.

We don’t know why some folks experience perinatal depression and anxiety and others do not, but there are certain risk factors that have been identified. The strongest association with developing perinatal depression is a prior history of depression. Other risk factors include a lack of social and financial support, teen pregnancy, gestational diabetes, unplanned/unwanted pregnancy, and health complications during the pregnancy.

Given how common the risk factors are, how many women are affected every year and how preventable perinatal depression and anxiety are, shouldn’t all pregnant and new parents be offered counseling as the standard of care?

If you know of anyone who might benefit from perinatal counseling from a prenatal or postpartum mental health professional, do reach out to us for information and to be matched to an expert. You are not alone. We are here for you when you need us. Get help, feel better.

Olivia Bergeron, LCSW Mommy Groove
Therapy and Parent Coaching
Olivia Bergeron, LCSW is a psychotherapist and parent coach who founded Mommy Groove Therapy & Parent Coaching to help parents navigate the huge changes that come with having a child. She is a provider available on the boober platform. Olivia works with people to create lasting change. She does this by providing clients with therapy or coaching or a hybrid of both. With offices in Park Slope and Union Square, and in-home visits, Mommy Groove Therapy & Parent Coaching is dedicated to creating happy, healthy families. Olivia offers help, whether you are seeking to make changes in your life, or to address anxiety/depression, or wish that you had a brighter north star when it comes to parenting. There is no need to go it alone.