For many pregnant women, life after their baby is born can be saddled with unpleasant feelings and emotions – like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder –yet these issues are rarely discussed.
Mara Acel-Green, faculty member in the Master’s in Human Services program at the College of Professional Studies, recently penned an article for HuffPost Parents about this hidden issue and what people can do to help.
According to Acel-Green, “mood disorders are the most common complications of pregnancy yet women are not routinely screened for them, despite the latest research that suggests that almost 20% of women experience depression and anxiety during pregnancy – that’s one in five!” Other startling statistics Acel-Green notes are that 12-20% of women experience depression and anxiety in the postpartum period and 6% of women develop post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their birth experiences.
She states that these issues are treatable, however, and how just listening can change worlds: “For each woman who experiences perinatal emotional complications, there are ripples in her world affected by her compromised state, including babies, parents, partners, co-workers, siblings, and neighbors, to name a few. Each time we support women through their pregnancy and postpartum period, we improve their experience and improve the lives of all those they touch – most immediately their babies.”
Acel-Green, LICSW, is a psychotherapist who runs her own private practice. In addition to her faculty position at Northeastern, she is the President of the Board of Directors of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies of Massachusetts.