Health professionals play an important role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of Perinatal Mood Disorders (PMDs).


The prenatal and postpartum periods are times of increased risk for the onset of mood disorders. Mood disorders can range from depression or anxiety during pregnancy, early postpartum blues to postpartum psychosis, a serious mental health condition. Within this range is postpartum depression (PPD), a major depressive disorder that can occur at any time within the first year following the birth or adoption of a baby. Recent studies show that anxiety is just as common, or more so than depression in the postpartum period.

Research shows that 1 in 5 women experience a PMD and rates increase for adolescents and new immigrant mothers. When left untreated it can have detrimental effects on the health and well-being of the individual, children and family members.

Prenatal depression is the greatest risk factor for PMDs. More information about Toronto Public Health’s prenatal programs.

Risk factors to be aware of:

  • personal history of depression or mental illness
  • depression in pregnancy
  • social isolation
  • stressful life events
  • history of abuse or trauma


  • dysphoria
  • emotional lability
  • insomnia
  • confusion
  • anxiety
  • guilt
  • suicidal thoughts

It is important to explore the person’s knowledge and understanding of what they are experiencing. In consultation with the individual, educate their partner and family members by providing them with coping strategies to support themselves, as well as the individual experiencing depression/anxiety.

Treatment options may include:

For all Toronto patients, contact Toronto Health Connection at 416-338-7600 or refer to Community Postpartum Depression Services.