Children's Hospital Colorado
A close-up of two kids smiling and touching their foreheads and noses to each other.
A new mom stares at her baby boy while he is asleep.

Support during pregnancy and early parenting

The Healthy Expectations Perinatal Mental Health Program supports pregnant people and those struggling with mood and anxiety issues after delivery, as well as their families. We provide evaluations for psychiatric and psychosocial concerns before, during and after birth along with group therapy and medication management. We've been helping families in Colorado for nearly 15 years and proudly offer care jointly at Children's Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado's Center for Women's Behavioral Health and Wellness.

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 seven women experience mood or anxiety problems during pregnancy and after delivery. It is very common for caregivers to get the "baby blues," a two-week period when parents and caregivers have mood swings, exhaustion, sleep problems and crying spells. If the baby blues worsen or last longer than two weeks after birth, the caregiver may have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, which are common and highly treatable concerns.

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

  • 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
  • Postpartum psychosis
  • Previous grief/loss/infertility and its impact on current pregnancy or parent-infant relationship
  • Partner relational issues
  • Birth trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Other parent-infant relationship issues

Why choose the Healthy Expectations Program?

The Healthy Expectations program is recognized as the Rocky Mountain leader in perinatal mood disorder treatment for pregnant and postpartum parents and caregivers. With options ranging from a free support group support to evidence-based mother-infant group psychotherapy, Healthy Expectations draws upon experts from various medical and mental health disciplines including psychiatry, psychology, pediatrics, nursing and social work.

When parenthood doesn't feel like you thought it would, you could be suffering from postpartum depression. We're here to help. Learn more about postpartum depression and anxiety signs and steps you can take (.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

Bearing Hope

Bearing Hope (.pdf) is a topic-based psychotherapeutic group where pregnant parents and caregivers can connect, learn and find support as they navigate the complex path toward parenthood.

MAMAS Connect (Mothers Aligning through Mood & Anxiety Support)

MAMAS Connect (.pdf) is a 12-week psychotherapeutic group where parents and caregivers struggling with depression or anxiety issues during the first year after delivery come together to connect, learn and find support as they navigate parenthood. The topic-based group sessions utilize a modified version of the Mother-Infant Therapy Group curriculum. Babies are encouraged to attend along with their parents, but this isn't required.

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: Mother's Group, Infant Developmental Stimulation Group and Mother-Baby Dyadic Group. Partners are also requested to join for two group sessions.

Black Mamas Circle

Black Mamas Circle (.pdf) is a community-led, peer-facilitated mental health support group. Guided by community members and by a Black perinatal psychiatrist, Black Mamas Circle’s mission is to be welcoming and uniquely inclusive to Black women and their babies. Black Mamas Circle provides weekly support sessions with the primary goals of increasing access and support around perinatal mental health care for Black moms and babies. This group has rolling admission and interested mothers can join at any time.

Mothers and Moods (M&Ms)

Mothers and Moods is a free weekly peer support group offered to moms with postpartum issues who can't come to one of our psychotherapy groups due to insurance or scheduling issues. It is also open to women who have completed a psychotherapeutic group through the program and want to stay connected with other moms.

Medication evaluation and management

If desired, we provide medication evaluation and management for women participating in one of our psychotherapeutic services in partnership with the University of Colorado's Center for Women's Behavioral Health and Wellness.

Contact the Healthy Expectations Perinatal Mental Health Program

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 303-864-5252 or email

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Compassionate Care, Wherever You Are

We’re here when you need us. Telehealth appointments are available across every one of our specialties, so you can get the high-quality care we’ve always offered from the comfort, privacy and convenience of your home.

See if telehealth is right for your child


Children's Colorado in the news

  • KOAA News5 Colorado Springs
    Mental health resources for new and expecting moms
    January 20, 2021

    More pregnant and new moms are experiencing mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Celeste St. John-Larkin wants these moms to know they’re not alone, and it’s possible to get help from the Healthy Expectations program no matter where you live in Colorado.