We can’t let May end without acknowledging Maternal Mental Health Month. Did you know that as many as 1 in 5 women experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorders? Maternal mental health concerns are actually the leading complications in pregnancy and postpartum. We believe that women’s mental health IS health and the more we can do to support moms, the better. To that end, we are proud to announce that our psychiatric provider, Aiereal Lloyd, PMHNP has now received her Perinatal Mental Health Certification in Psychopharmacology via Postpartum Support International.
I recently had the pleasure of talking to Aiereal a little more about this important topic.
Kelly– Tell us what made you interested in perinatal mental health and pursuing this designation.
Aiereal- After my daughter, I experienced Postpartum Mood Disorder. I was afraid to tell my doctor in fears that my baby would be taken away. I felt I had no support. I eventually told them and was started on medication without education (which was terrifying). I want to be that support for women who are afraid, who are clueless on the next steps.
Kelly– I know you just studied for your test and while all the info is still fresh, anything that stands out to you to share with us?
Aiereal– Most medications are pretty safe during pregnancy. Fathers are important too, when there is a supportive partner, it can be very helpful. It’s also crucial to know the importance of screening dads as well for PMAD.
Kelly– What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about pregnant and breastfeeding women being on psychiatric medications?
Aiereal– That medications need to be stopped while pregnant or while breastfeeding or that Zoloft is the only safe medication to take.
Kelly– What advice would you give to a therapist, medical provider, or doula re: talking to a client about considering medication/being referred to a prescriber, especially if the mom is wary of going that route?
Aiereal– Reassuring the mom/dad that medications are okay. Of course, therapy is #1 in my opinion. Medications do not have to be lifelong, and if they are it’s okay. Being a parent is hard no matter if you are a first timer, adopter, or an experienced parent. Each pregnancy is different and there are resources to help you decide what is best for you and your family.
Maternal Mental Health Hotline; a confidential, toll-free hotline for mothers experiencing mental health challenges: