Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders


Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) is a term used to describe a spectrum of disorders that can affect mothers and families during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

While commonly referred to as "postpartum depression," medical research and health care providers now know that these disorders can occur anytime in the perinatal period. These disorders include: Depression and Anxiety in Pregnancy, Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Panic Disorder, Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Postpartum Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Postpartum Psychosis. The term "maternal depression" usually refers to depression during pregnancy or the postpartum period.

Approximately 15-20% of women will experience moderate to severe feelings of depression or anxiety during the perinatal period.[1-2] Women of any culture, age, income level, education level, and race can experience a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder. While there is no one single cause, women with a history of depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns are more likely to experience PMAD. Stress, hormone changes, trauma, lack of support, family history, and other stressful experiences such as a colicky baby or pregnancy loss may also increase the risk for PMAD.

A mother's mood/anxiety symptoms have a direct impact on her child and partner. Approximately 10% of new fathers experience mood and anxiety problems as well.[3]


1. Bennett, HA. et al., Prevalence of depression during pregnancy: systematic review. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2004 April 103(4): 698-709.

2. Minnesota Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) 2009-2010, Minnesota Department of Health, Division of Community and Family Health, Maternal and Child Health. Grant number IU01Dp003117-01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

3. Paulson, JF. et al., Individual and combined effects of postpartum depression on mothers and fathers on parenting behaviors. 2006 August 118(2): 659-668.