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If this is an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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Telephone and email support.  Volunteers are available for telephone and email support.  These volunteers can provide information about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (including ostpartum depression), support and encouragement, and health care resources.  All volunteers have first-hand knowledge of postpartum depression, either personally or through a family member. 

Support groups. Talking with other women who have survived perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, such as postpartum depression, can be extremely helpful.  Support groups offer the opportunity to validate experiences, share coping strategies, and gain support and encouragement.  Support groups are active throughout Virginia.

Medical professionalsMedical professionals play an important role in assisting women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including anxiety and/or depression.  New mothers can talk with an obstetricial provider, gynecologist, family practitioner, or primary care provider.  These doctors can help rule out underlying medical conditions – such as thyroid changes and anemia – that can occur following pregnancy.  Mental health professionals can assist with counseling and medication when necessary. Pediatricians can also provide information about postpartum depression. 

Postpartum doulas.  Postpartum doulas help new families adjust to life with baby.  They have knowledge about postpartum recovery, breastfeeding, and newborn care.  Their services vary depending on the family’s needs, and might involve anything from a one-time visit for information and advice, to providing overnight care every night for a month.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is conducting a series of studies regarding the effects of hormones on women’s mood disorders, including studies of postpartum depression. To learn more, contact Annie Shellswick at 301-402-9207 or annieshellswick@mail.nih.gov.

Information for Military Families. Recognizing that military mothers – whether military spouses or active duty – face a higher risk of postpartum depression, several organizations have support services tailored specifically for military families. These include:

  • Postpartum Support International has compiled research regarding military women and postpartum depression and has a point of contact for each of the military services..
  • Operation Special Delivery offers specialized doula support for military mothers.
  • Give An Hour provides free mental health services to military members and their families affected by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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