Children's Hospital Colorado
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Pediatric Mental Health Institute

Mental Health Services for Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Supporting women during pregnancy and early parenting

The Healthy Expectations Perinatal Mental Health Program at Children's Hospital Colorado supports pregnant women and women struggling with mood and anxiety issues after delivery, as well as their families. We provide evaluations for psychiatric and psychosocial concerns in the perinatal period along with group therapy and medication management.

About the Healthy Expectations Perinatal Mental Health Program

Our team includes:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Pediatricians
  • Nurses
  • Social workers
  • Music therapists

Who we serve

Research shows that nearly one in seven women experience mood or anxiety problems during pregnancy and after delivery. It is very common for moms to get the "baby blues," a two-week period where new mothers have mood swings, exhaustion, sleep problems and crying spells. If the baby blues worsen or last longer than two weeks after giving birth, a woman may have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, which are common and treatable.

The following may be signs of mood and anxiety disorders during pregnancy and after delivery:

  • Frequent crying
  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety, worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Anger
  • Lack of energy for everyday tasks
  • Trouble sleeping even when the baby is asleep
  • Sense of stress that interferes with daily life
  • Loss of interest in food or preoccupation with eating
  • Loss of interest in self-care
  • Loss of concentration
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Lack of pleasure or interest in most or all activities
  • Excessive anxiety about the baby
  • Lack of interest in or feeling detached from the baby
  • Fears of harm coming to the baby or thoughts of harming the baby
  • Thoughts of suicide or harming yourself

Specific conditions we treat

  • Depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period
  • Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) during pregnancy and the postpartum period
  • Bipolar mood disorder during pregnancy and the postpartum period
  • Postpartum psychosis
  • Previous grief/loss/infertility and its impact on current pregnancy or parent-infant relationship
  • Partner relational issues
  • Birth trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Other parent-infant relationship issues

Why should moms choose Children's Hospital Colorado?

The Healthy Expectations program is recognized as the Rocky Mountain leader in perinatal mood disorders treatment for pregnant and postpartum women. With options ranging from a free support group support to evidence-based mother-infant group psychotherapy, Healthy Expectations draws upon experts from various medical and mental health disciplines including psychiatry, psychology, pediatrics, nursing and social work.

When motherhood doesn't feel like you thought it would, you could be suffering from postpartum depression. We're here to help. Learn more about postpartum depression and anxiety signs and steps moms can take (.pdf).

Benefits of treatment from our program

  • Improved feelings of connectedness with the baby
  • Healthier weight gain during pregnancy for mother and baby
  • Fewer problems with sleep
  • Greater success in breastfeeding
  • Healthier social and behavioral growth for the child

Types of care we provide at Children's Colorado

Bearing Hope

Bearing Hope (.pdf) is a topic-based support group where pregnant women can connect, learn and find support as they navigate the complex path toward motherhood.

Mother-Infant Therapy Group (M-ITG)

Mother-Infant Therapy Group is the cornerstone of our program. It is an evidence-based, 12-week psychotherapeutic group made up of three weekly parts: Mother's Group, Infant Developmental Stimulation Group and Mother-Baby Dyadic Group. Partners are also requested to join for two group sessions.

Mothers and Moods (M&Ms)

Mothers and Moods is a free weekly mom-to-mom support group offered to moms with postpartum issues who can't come to one of our psychotherapy groups due to insurance or scheduling issues. It is also open to women who have completed a psychotherapeutic group through the program and want to stay connected with other moms.

MAMAS Connect (Mothers Aligning through Mood & Anxiety Support)

* Meets at Highlands Ranch Therapy Care Location

MAMAS Connect (.pdf) is a 12-week psychotherapeutic group where women struggling with depression or anxiety issues during the first year after delivery come together to connect, learn and find support as they navigate motherhood. The topic-based group sessions utilize a modified version of the Mother-Infant Therapy Group curriculum. Babies are encouraged to attend along with their mothers.

Medication Evaluation and Management

If desired, medication evaluation and management is provided for women participating in one of our psychotherapeutic services.

Contact the Healthy Expectations Perinatal Mental Health Program

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 303-864-5252 or email healthyexpectations@childrenscolorado.org.

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