To make Referrals to the Inpatient Program, please call the UNC Psychiatry Admissions Office at (984) 974-3834.
Perinatal Mood Disorders
Depression or anxiety that occurs during pregnancy or after childbirth is called a perinatal mood disorder. Perinatal mood disorders are very serious conditions that impact both the mother and baby. Symptoms may get worse without proper treatment. A mood disorder is a medical illness that can be effectively treated if you seek help.
Help is available for women with mood disorders during pregnancy or the postpartum period. Working with doctors, nurses, midwives, counselors, and social workers, we will help create the best plan to manage symptoms and get mothers on the road to a healthier pregnancy and a happier time with their baby. Current treatments include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, estrogen therapy, psychotherapy or a combination.
After the birth of the baby, many new mothers experience what is known as postpartum depression (PPD). Others may experience anxiety, panic attacks, worsening symptoms of pre-existing bipolar illness and/or symptoms of psychosis. These disorders can happen after any birth, not just after the first child. It is important to seek help if these symptoms last longer than a few weeks, or if symptoms are severe or worrisome.
- Feeling sad
- Crying a lot
- Anxiety, worry or activation
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble sleeping, not eating, poor self-care
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Lack of energy or too much energy
- Not interested in things you used to enjoy
- Not interested in your baby
- Fear of hurting yourself or your baby
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Withdrawing from people
- Feeling overwhelmed
Another form of Postpartum Depression is Postpartum Psychosis. Postpartum Psychosis is a serious illness that can be severe and life threatening. Women with bipolar disorder are at high risk for having severe postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis. The psychotic symptoms include:
- Delusions (thoughts that are not based in reality
- Hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren’t there)
- Disorganized thinking
Often mothers who develop postpartum psychosis are having a severe episode of a mood disorder, usually bipolar (manic-depression) disorder with psychotic features. It is essential for women to get evaluation and treatment immediately.
Our Perinatal Psychiatry Inpatient Unit
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Perinatal Mood Disorders Inpatient Unit has been newly renovated to provide private, state of the art, specialty care for women suffering from severe perinatal psychiatric issues. The Unit was newly renovated in June 2011 and is the first of its kind in the United States. It is completely free-standing and includes 5 patient beds (private and semi-private). Infants are encouraged to visit for as long as possible, but may not stay overnight. Protected sleep times for the mothers are extremely important for recovery.
Our treatment team is comprised of highly trained doctors, nurses, psychologists, midwives, social workers, and other therapists that work together to create individualized treatment plans. We provide comprehensive assessment and treatment, including medication stabilization and a vast range of individual and group therapies as appropriate. Our goal is to provide a supportive environment to assist in the recovery from perinatal psychiatric illness.
Unique Features of our Unit include:
- Private and Free-Standing Perinatal Psychiatry Unit
- Protected sleep times
- Extended visiting hours to maximize positive mother-baby interaction
- Gliders for pumping and nursing in patient rooms
- Hospital-grade breast pumps, refrigeration and freezer storage
- Lactation consultants
- Specialty trained nursing and other staff
- Group therapies including art, relaxation, behavioral, and psycho-education
- Biofeedback therapy
- Mother-infant attachment therapy
- Family and partner assisted interpersonal psychotherapy
- Therapeutic yoga geared for pregnancy and postpartum women
- Nutrition consultation
- Obstetrics and Gynecology Consultation
- Spiritual support from hospital chaplains with expertise in the perinatal period
- Discharge planning and transition to outpatient either in the UNC Perinatal Psychiatry Outpatient program or in the patient's community
For patients from out of town:
Please see the UNC Visitor Information site.
For family or friends traveling with the patient, please obtain the list of hotel accommodations in the area by contacting Patient Relations at (984) 974-5006. Note: there are no accommodations for rooming-in with the baby.
For more information about the Perinatal Psychiatry Inpatient Unit, visit AHRQ Innovations Exchange.
For general information about our Women's Mood Disorders Program please call (919) 966-9640.
To make Referrals to the Inpatient Program, please call the UNC Psychiatry Admissions Office at 984-974-3834.