The terms perinatal and maternal are often used interchangeably. ‘Peri’ is the Latin for “around”, and ‘natal’ is the Latin for “birth”. So perinatal mental health refers to a woman’s mental health during pregnancy and the first years after birth.
This includes mental illness that existed before pregnancy, as well as illnesses that develop for the first time or are greatly exacerbated in the perinatal period.
Examples of perinatal mental health problems include antenatal and/or postnatal depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, postpartum psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These illnesses can be mild, moderate or severe, requiring different kinds of care or treatment.
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