SOLUTION: Grossmont College Pregnancy and Parenting Hardships Discussion

SOLUTION: Grossmont College Pregnancy and Parenting Hardships Discussion.

Postpartum Mental Health
Perinatal and Postpartum Depression
First and Last Names
Cuyamaca College
Social Work 110 – 1765
Fall 2021
Postpartum Mental Health
My research for this paper closely examines the issues of mental health. The
marginalized population that I have chosen to focus on are women that are in the Postpartum
stage, which begins once a woman gives birth to an infant. Many changes take place during the
postpartum period which can be seen physically and mentally. The negative effects that mental
health issues have on pregnant and postpartum women are not only detrimental to the woman
alone, but also to the infant. The research that I have gathered outlines the factors that impact
postpartum mental health (more specifically postpartum depression- or PPD), the complications
that follow untreated mental illness, and goes over how the field of social work aids in the
assistance of this population.
Postpartum Mental Health
Literature Review
Problem/Social Issue Defined
Postpartum depression is depression that occurs during the postpartum period of a
woman’s life (Anderson, 2017). This period begins once a pregnant woman gives birth to an
infant or infants. Women are three times more likely to experience depression during the
postpartum period and approximately five to twenty five percent of mothers experience some
sort of depressive episode (Elmagd & Albokhary, 2021). They are at higher risks of developing
mental health problems which can lead to prolonged health complications and can in turn affect
their children. This is because postpartum depression (PPD) consists of many symptoms that
deter one from living life effectively every day such as: feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, or
anxiety, suicidal thoughts, the need for social isolation, and thoughts of harming the new baby.
These feelings arise due to the emotional imbalance that follows birth and is caused by hormonal
changes, interrupted sleep patterns, and fatigue. Mental health complications also correspond
with the lack of marital relation satisfaction and low lower levels of support socially.
Many women feel alone during the pregnancy and the postpartum periods, and many feel
hesitation to reach out to someone for help. Social workers possess the skills to help navigate
women through such difficult times and help provide them with a safe place or point them in the
right direction to get the help that they need. Because of this, social workers play a vital role
during pregnancy and postpartum periods. The purpose of my research is to gain an
understanding of the issue of postpartum depression and to understand the important of social
workers with regards to it. This research paper will outline both topics and PPD in the social
work field.
Target Population
Postpartum Mental Health
The target population of people in need of this social work service is pregnant and
postpartum women of all ages. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
about 1 out of every 8 women experience major postpartum depression. The period of highest
risk is around three months postpartum. It is also possible for depression to present itself during
the perinatal period, which is during pregnancy. It is important to keep in mind that many
statistical numbers regarding postpartum depression are based on women who have live births;
they do not include women who miscarry or have stillbirths. When considering live births, still
births, and miscarriages, approximately 900,000 women suffer from postpartum depression
annually (, 2020). Something else that is important to recognize is that
there are large amounts of unreported or undiagnosed cases of postpartum depression; therefore,
these cases are not included. There are many factors that could help predict the outcome of
postpartum depression. If a woman has experienced depressive symptoms prior to the pregnancy,
they are at higher risk of getting postpartum depression. Moreover, if they have given birth
previously and have experienced postpartum or perinatal depression, then they are ten to fifty
percent more likely to get it again ( Social factors are strong
predictors for postpartum depression. There is a strong association with low social support and
PPD. This is especially apparent for women who do not have strong marital relationships or are
single mothers. Anxiety and insomnia are also predicting factors. Life stressors or life changing
events such as childbirth itself can lead to depression. If a woman experiences a traumatic birth
or if the baby has health problems, this also puts them at a higher risk. Pregnancy and childbirth
come with many physical, which could also be difficult to deal with, in turn causing emotional
instability. Postpartum depression can make it difficult to complete even simple daily tasks, and
it could also have negative consequences for the baby such as behavioral, emotional, or cognitive
Postpartum Mental Health
problems, or it could cause physical developmental issues. Therefore, it is extremely important to
screen women for depression early on and consider all of these predicting factors, specifically in
the perinatal period.
Practice Methods
Both, micro and macro levels of practice are utilized in this field of social and work and
both are imperative in effectively aiding pregnant women, specifically those that suffer from
depression before, during, or after the pregnancy. Methods of micro practice focus on direct
practice working with individual mothers. This could include individual or group therapy or
classes. Ensuring that the mothers needs are being met financially, medically, and emotionally
help them flourish and is an important part of the micro level. Supplemental programs such as
WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) provide help in ensuring the family is receiving a healthy
diet, which supports children and pregnant or breastfeeding women with financially stability.
Parenting classes and prenatal classes prepare would-be mothers for how life will children be and
provides social support.
At the macro level practice in this field, social workers focus on advocating for pregnant
and postpartum women, and policies that are in favor of them. An example would be the fight for
the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, specifically section 2952.
The adoption of this act mandates research that helps develop more insight on postpartum
depression. This allows PPD to be better understood, along with the different presentations of it
and the courses necessary to pursue treatment for it.
Social Worker Role
Social workers are essential to women who are pregnant or have children. They assist
mothers and families within communities that are facing psychosocial challenges which are
Postpartum Mental Health
presented during the pre-pregnancy period to a child’s first year of life ( Medical
challenges sometimes occur during pregnancy or to the infant after birth. Perinatal social workers
assist families in understanding these challenges as well as all other complex information that
arises during pregnancy or during the beginning of an infant’s life. Perinatal losses such as
miscarriage or stillbirth happen, and social workers help individuals manage the grief that comes
with the loss. An assessment of strengths and challenges must be done, as well as a lot of
planning regardless of a healthy pregnancy or not. Resources for supportive services are
provided for long and short terms. The work environment of a perinatal social worker can range
from hospitals and clinics to adoption agencies and foster care. Some social workers even
provide outpatient services.
Part 2: The Social Work Field of Service
The Presenting Problem
One of the leading problems of perinatal and postpartum depression is that it causes
mothers to essentially withdraw from life. PPD causes mothers feelings of anxiety, inadequacy,
increased irritability, and, as mentioned previously, can also cause mothers to have thoughts of
harming their babies. These feelings can be detrimental to the infant’s life because it can cause
the mother to be negligent towards it. The negligence can harm the physical and cognitive
develop of the baby, which can be long term.
Many women with PPD also have thoughts of suicide or self-harm as well. In fact, the
prevalence of these thoughts among pre- and post-pregnancy women has almost tripled between
2006 and 2017, with an apparent increase in individuals who are black, younger, or lower
income ( Therefore, it is imperative for depression to be detected and
treated as early on as possible.
Postpartum Mental Health
Barriers to Service
One of the most apparent barriers to service for clients in need of perinatal social work, is
the lack of access to it. Many clinics or practices that provide treatment for pregnant and
postpartum women require medical insurance. Majority of these people can’t afford medical
insurance or are unaware that assistance, such as Medi-cal or Covered CA, is available to them.
Then, when made aware that these services are available, they are unsure of how to apply for
them or lack the resources to do so. This is where medical social work can come together with
perinatal social work because each can point a client in need to the direction in which they could
receive application assistance or even just to the right resources.
Individual and Environmental Causes of the Problem
Many pregnant women hesitate to seek treatment for perinatal or postpartum depression
because they fear their voice may not be heard. Because of expectations created by society and
the judgmental attitudes of some providers (Bentley et al., 2014), they are not comfortable
relaying their needs to their doctor. They fear that their concerns will just be brushed off or they
may be forced to be put on medication. Psychopharmacological intervention is another big
concern that holds women back from seeking treatment. The decision to accept medication is a
dilemma because of the common misconception that you cannot consume many medications due
to it causing harm to the fetus. Although there are medications that can cause harm to the fetus,
there are also medications that have been proven to be safe. This fear of medication is tied into
the judgmental attitudes of providers, both can cause a pregnant woman to feel ashamed or
hesitant about getting help. This is exactly where social workers are essential, as situations such
as these are the perfect opportunities to empower the client and engage with them, so they are
able to confidently make their own decisions.
Postpartum Mental Health
Values and Ethical Issues for Social Workers
There are a few potential ethical dilemmas that could arise when working as a perinatal
social worker. Many different cultures have different beliefs and traditions regarding
pregnancies, so it is extremely important to have cultural competence and understanding. The
commitment to clients is also another dilemma because pregnancy isn’t always pretty, there are a
lot of sad parts to it like perinatal loss. It could be emotionally difficult to work with clients who
are experiencing situations such as these and having to witness them as well.
Anticipated Income
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021), the position of a Perinatal Social
Worker would be generalized into the category of Healthcare Social Worker. The projected
average hourly wage for one would be $29.07 an hour. The average annual wage is projected to
be $60,470- with a range of $36,110 to $87,150.
Final Assessment of the Field of Service
After doing my research for this assignment, in conjunction with my own personal
experiences, I can conclude that this field of service is extremely vital to women like me. I have
given birth to two children and am currently pregnant and can say that advocacy for pregnant
women is always a dire need and is currently lacking. After reading the challenges that arise
from postpartum depression and being shut down by providers in the past about my depressive
episodes, I realize that pregnant women are in desperate need for advocacy and an additional
voice to lead them to the path of mental health recovery. It wasn’t until this (third) pregnancy
that my voice has been heard and I’ve been able to receive the help that I desperately needed. I
can’t imagine what other women have gone through that have experienced more severe episodes
than me and weren’t able to get help or were too afraid to. The obvious need for more advocacy
Postpartum Mental Health
has lead me to conclude that I will be one to provide this voice for the many women who so
desperately need it.
Postpartum Mental Health
Abo Elmagd, M. H., & Albokhary, A. A. (2021). Postpartum Depression and Its Relation to Social
Support and Marital Satisfaction. ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry, 22(7), 1–13.
Admin, M. C. (n.d.). What is a perinatal social worker. Private Equity Women Investor Network.
Retrieved November 2, 2021, from
Anderson, G. R. (2017). Postpartum depression: Prevalence, risk factors and outcomes. Nova
Science Publishers, Inc.
Bentley, K. J., Price, S. K., & Cummings, C. R. (2014). A psychiatric medication decision support
guide for Social Work Practice with pregnant and postpartum women. Social Work, 59(4),
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, May 14). Depression among women. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from
Keefe, R. H., Brownstein-Evans, C., Lane, S. D., Carter, D. B., & Rouland Polmanteer, R. S.
(2016). Postpartum depression and the Affordable Care Act: Recommendations for Social
Work Educators. Advances in Social Work, 16(2), 202–213.
Kuntz, L. (2020, November 25). Pregnancy and postpartum suicide risk: The new numbers.
Psychiatric Times. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from
Postpartum Mental Health
Medically Reviewed and Fact-Checked by: Kimberly Langdon M.D., by:, M. R. and F.-C., &
Editor, M. (2021, June 3). Statistics on postpartum depression – postpartum depression
resources. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021, March 31). 21-1022 healthcare social workers. U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved November 2, 2021, from
Postpartum Mental Health
Annotated Bibliography
Bentley, K. J., Price, S. K., & Cummings, C. R. (2014). A psychiatric medication decision support
guide for Social Work Practice with pregnant and postpartum women. Social Work, 59(4),
Summary: This article talks about the support that Social Workers are obligated to provide for
pregnant and postpartum women regarding the decision to pursue psychopharmacological
intervention. The authors argue that women are made to feel uncomfortable in making the decision
to take psychiatric medication to treat perinatal and postpartum mental illnesses due to many
misconceptions about the medications and because of the views of some providers. This article is
reliable because it is published in an academic journal that was written by Kia J. Bentley, Sarah
Kye Price, and Cory R. Cummings. Bentley is a professor of Social work with a Ph.D from Florida
State University, a M.S.S.W. from the University of Tennessee, and a B.A.S.W. from Auburn
University. Price is also professor of Social Work with a PhD from Washington University, and
MSW from Syracuse University. This article is objective as it draws from multiple sources and
considers a variety of perspectives. This article will be used in my research paper to help illustrate
the individual and environmental causes of the problem in this field of social work.

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