Perinatal Mental Health and Postpartum Depression

Preparing to welcome a baby and adjusting to life as a new mom is a beautiful, and extremely challenging, time. No two women will have the same experience, and whether it's your first time being pregnant, or you're having your fifth child, what you're feeling can change or be completely different than before. If at any point you’re struggling — mentally, emotionally, or physically — AHN Saint Vincent is here to help. We’re in this with you. Always.

You’re taking on a lot, Mom — adjusting to your ever-changing body, modifying your routines, and giving it your very best, day after day, for your baby. As you face this period of change, it’s important to remember that all of your thoughts and feelings matter.

There is no certain way you “should” be feeling right now. While it’s difficult, there’s no shame in reaching out for help. In fact, it’s the strongest and most courageous thing you can do for yourself and your child.

AHN Saint Vincent is here to support you throughout your pregnancy — the perinatal period — and well after you deliver your child — known as postpartum. We offer comprehensive, ongoing behavioral health services to help keep you at your very best.

What are the symptoms of perinatal and postpartum depression?

Of course you may be tired, irritable, or feeling more emotional throughout your pregnancy or shortly after. Sometimes it’s what’s known as the “baby blues,” a short period of sadness after delivering a child that usually goes away in a few days. But other times, these feelings can grow stronger and become overwhelming.

If that’s the case, depending on the stage of your pregnancy, you may be experiencing perinatal or postpartum depression. Symptoms may include:

  • Feeling overwhelmingly sad or empty inside for most of your day
  • Feeling anxious or overly worrisome
  • Feeling irritable or like you’re on edge
  • Struggling to feel connected to your baby
  • Wanting to be left alone and not spending time with friends or family
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Having trouble falling asleep or sleeping too much
  • Not experiencing pleasure or enjoying activities you once liked

Perinatal and postpartum depression can affect any woman, at any time. Whether this is your first pregnancy, or your fourth, your feelings are valid.

If you’re feeling one or more of these symptoms, call AHN Women’s Behavioral Health at Saint Vincent at (814) 452-6558. We are here to help you — with open arms and without judgment.

If you fear you may harm yourself or others, call 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE 1-800-784-2433.

About Women’s Behavioral Health at AHN Saint Vincent

If you do need help for postpartum depression, turn to AHN Women’s Behavioral Health at Saint Vincent. This facility, right in the heart of Erie, is one of only a handful in the United States to offer intensive, outpatient mother-baby therapy. Together with your baby, you’ll learn, grow, and heal.

You’ll meet with specialists and other moms for three hours per day, three times a week. That may seem like a lot, but this intensive postpartum therapy helps you bond with your baby and allows you to feel better, faster. Our women’s behavioral health professionals lead sessions that include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This therapeutic approach emphasizes the link between thoughts and feelings. You’ll begin to identify patterns of negative thinking and learn ways to cope with those feelings.
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): Our IPT therapists will help you better understand how your mood can impact your relationships. You’ll learn ways to effectively communicate and solve your problems. 
  • Dialectical behavior therapy: This type of therapy teaches you ways to manage painful emotions and reduce any relationship conflicts you may be experiencing. 
  • Group therapy: Led by a women’s behavioral health specialist, you’ll share your experiences, hear from other moms, and brainstorm healthy solutions together. 
  • Medication management: You’ll have ongoing, regular access to a perinatal psychiatrist. If medically necessarily, this doctor can prescribe and manage medications. 
  • Infant development: Our specialists will also help you foster healthy relationships with your child, cover basic infant care, offer lactation support, and help you to feel strong and empowered as a mom.

Let’s break the silence

Join AHN women, moms, and soon-to-be moms in our initiative to reduce the stigma of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Perinatal and postpartum services at AHN Saint Vincent: Why choose us?

AHN Saint Vincent supports our moms throughout pregnancy and for a year postpartum. When you choose us, you gain access to these services and more:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth classes: We offer classes on a range of topics, including breastfeeding and infant care. Being prepared for what’s to come helps many new parents alleviate anxiety or worry. Take a look at our pregnancy and childbirth classes.
  • Routine screenings: Throughout your pregnancy, and after birth, your OB-GYN team will routinely screen for things like perinatal and postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health concerns. If you screen positive for a mood disorder, we step in to help quickly. You’ll be contacted by our staff within 48 hours and have an appointment scheduled within two weeks.
  • Comprehensive psychological therapy: Postpartum disorder comes in many forms, including obsessive-compulsive, anxiety, and panic disorder. Our team offers hour-long, weekly therapy sessions to help treat these disorders. 
  • Help with addiction: Our Growing Hope Program provides personalized treatment and support for pregnant women and new moms who are struggling with a substance use disorder. In a judgment-free space, this program helps moms get clean and stay healthy. 
  • Trusted expertise: AHN women’s behavioral health specialists have received training in pediatrics, as well as adolescent and adult psychiatry. This means we can work with you as both a patient and as a parent.

We’re here to help — always.

If you, or someone you love, is experiencing symptoms of perinatal or postpartum depression, call AHN Women’s Behavioral Health at Saint Vincent at (814) 452-6558. The team can provide more information on our programs or schedule a new patient appointment.

If you fear you may harm yourself or others, call 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE 1-800-784-2433.

Find us

AHN Women's Behavioral Health at Saint Vincent
Hardner Building
2315 Myrtle Street, Suite 260
Erie, PA 16502-4602