NIH Launches Moms’ Mental Health Matters

Moms Mental Health imageThe Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has launched Moms’ Mental Health Matters, a new initiative to raise awareness among pregnant and postpartum mothers, their families, and health care providers about depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after the baby is born.

NICHD has developed free health education materials in English and Spanish. The posters describe the signs of depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy and address the misconception that for all women, pregnancy and new motherhood can only be "the happiest time of your life." In addition, the action plan helps moms identify when and where to seek help, and the conversation starter postcard, specifically designed for a mom's support system, offers suggestions for communicating with a loved one about this issue.

Historically, much of the research on women's mental health related to pregnancy has been on depression that occurs after the birth of a baby. But, we know now—it's not just the postpartum period, and it's not just depression. Women experience depression and anxiety, as well as other mental health conditions, during pregnancy and after the baby is born. These conditions can have significant effects on the health of the mother and her child. This initiative is designed to educate consumers and health care providers about who is at risk for depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy, the signs of these problems, and how to get help.  Click Here