Children's Hospital Colorado
Pediatric Mental Health Institute
Pediatric Mental Health Institute

Mental Health Services for Pregnant and Postpartum Women at Children's Hospital Colorado

Supporting women before and after birth

The Healthy Expectations Perinatal Mental Health Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado supports pregnant women and women struggling with mood and anxiety issues after birth, as well as their families, with group therapy and evidence-based care. We provide evaluations for medical, psychological and/or social matters in the perinatal period.

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 five women experience mood or anxiety problems during pregnancy and after birth. 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.

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

  • 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
  • Previous grief/loss/infertility and its impact on current pregnancy or parent-infant relationship
  • Partner relational issues
  • Birth trauma
  • Other parent-infant relational 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 free group support and evidence-based 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 the postpartum depression program at Children’s Colorado (.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 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:

  1. The Mother’s Group is a small group led by our therapists with a planned curriculum and time for mothers to connect with others experiencing similar difficulties.
  2. The Infant Developmental Stimulation Group pairs the baby with a therapist for one-on-one care. The therapist gets to know the infant’s personality and cues to support the mom-baby pair.
  3. The Mother-Infant Dyadic Group has a group leader in addition to a therapist for each mom-baby pair. This group promotes better mom-baby interactions and helps moms feel more capable as parents.

Parenting partners can come to two group therapy sessions to improve their partner relationship. Topics cover understanding mood and anxiety disorders during pregnancy and after birth, and improving communication and problem-solving skills.

Mothers and Moods Support Group (M&Ms)

Mothers and Moods Support is a free weekly mom-to-mom support group offered to moms with postpartum issues who can’t come to the therapy group due to insurance or scheduling issues. It is also open to women who have completed the program and want to stay connected.

Additional services we provide

  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • Free mother-to-mother postpartum group support
  • Individual counseling
  • Couples counseling
  • Mother-infant relationship play
  • Pregnancy group
  • Medication evaluation/management for women participating in one of our therapeutic programs

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