NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- One in five new or expectant mothers experience anxiety and/or depression during pregnancy and the first year after giving birth, according to doctors at the Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters.

These illnesses, are also known as perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, or PMADs.

CHKD health professionals offer the following tips for families affected by PMADs:

  • These illnesses – also known as perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, or PMADs — are the #1 complication of pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Women of every culture, age, income level, and race can develop PMADs. Symptoms can appear anytime during the two-year span from conception through baby’s first birthday. Onset of symptoms may be gradual or sudden. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are caused by changes in biology, physiology, environment, and expectations
  • So we say to women: You are not alone. You are not to blame. And with help you will get well.

Tip 2: PMADs are temporary and can be treated with a combination of self-care, social support, talk therapy, and medication if necessary.

  • A complete medication examination (some medical conditions, such as a thyroid imbalance and anemia, are fairly common in the postpartum period and can contribute to feelings of depression and lethargy)
  • A psychiatric evaluation
  • Self-help techniques
  • Participation in a support group
  • Talk therapy with a psychologist or counselor
  • Medication and/or hospitalization when necessary

Tip 3: Talking with other women who have experienced postpartum depression can be extremely helpful.

  • Support groups offer the opportunity to validate experiences, share coping strategies, and gain support and encouragement.
  • The volunteers running peer support groups all have firsthand experience with postpartum depression, either personally or with a family member.
  • However, these volunteers are NOT medical professionals and therefore cannot give professional advice, diagnose, prescribe, or in any way treat postpartum mood disorders. Support groups are an adjunct to — not a replacement for — medical treatment. Those with medical, mental, or personal issues are strongly urged to seek advice from physicians and/or mental health professionals.
  • There are two support groups offered at CHKD --1st Tuesday each month (NICU moms), 3rd Wednesday each month (all moms)

You can reach CHKD health professionals for more help by calling (757) 668-7165 or email