Support for Women Before, During and After Their Pregnancy
Medstar Georgetown University Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry, in conjunction with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, offers a unique program for women. This program provides outpatient evaluation and treatment for psychiatric disorders and problems of adjustment to women in their childbearing years. Our program recognizes the importance of providing specialized mental health care for women, particularly surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. In doing so, we value a woman’s unique biology and rich emotional life, as well as the centrality of social relationships.
When Being a Mom Isn’t What You Expected
What if being a mom isn’t what you expected? About 10 to 20 percent or of new moms experience a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder (PMAD), which can begin any time during pregnancy or the first year after childbirth. PMADs are treatable illnesses that can cause feelings of sadness, guilt, indifference, anxiety and/or intrusive thoughts. It might feel like having a baby is too hard, or you wonder if you’re a bad mom—but it is in fact an illness that will get better with help. Perinatal mood or anxiety disorders include postpartum depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or postpartum psychosis.
For some women, psychiatric medications will be a necessary part of treatment. In those cases, our psychiatrists, who have expertise in treating this specific population, are available. We provide initial diagnostic evaluations, psychoeducation, expert second opinions and collaboration with other treatment providers involved in the woman’s care towards providing a multidisciplinary treatment plan. Family members or partners may also be involved in consultations.
Areas of Specialization
- Depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy
- Postpartum depression
- Management of psychiatric disorders in pregnancy
- Complicated pregnancies
- Pregnancy loss
- Transition to motherhood
- Balancing personal and professional life
- Relationship problems
Aimee Danielson, PhD, founder and director of the Women’s Mental Health Program, is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in women’s perinatal mental health. Her clinical practice focuses on treating mood and anxiety disorders in pregnancy and postpartum, as well as supporting women through the transition to motherhood.
Nicole Perras, MD - Perinatal Psychiatrist