Pregnancy-related mental health conditions are the most common complication of pregnancy, yet half of all women suffering will not be treated.
I wanted to address the stigma associated with these conditions as well as the rampant misinformation online. So, I reached out to, patient advocate and founder of Motherhood Understand, an online community for moms impacted by maternal mental health conditions. Together, we conceived the idea for the #MomsNeedToKnow maternal mental health awareness campaign, which will run from Oct. 14 to 25. This is an evidence-based campaign, complete with references and citations, that speaks to patients where they are at, i.e., social media.
With my clinical expertise and Jen’s reach, we felt like it was a natural partnership, as well as an innovative approach to empowering women to take control of their mental health during the perinatal period. We teamed up with, an illustrator, and developed 2 weeks of Instagram posts, focused on the themes of lesser-known diagnoses, maternal mental health myths, and treatment options. This campaign is designed to help women understand risk factors for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, as well as the signs of these conditions. It will cover lesser-known diagnoses like postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder, and will address topics such as the impact of infertility on mental health and clarify the roles of different clinicians who can help.
Moreover, the campaign aims to address stigma and myths around psychiatric treatment during pregnancy – and also provides resources.
Dr. Lakshmin, a perinatal psychiatrist, is clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at George Washington University in Washington.
This article was updated 10/12/19.