Celebrating National Women’s Health Week

May 15th, 2013

New Moms & Mental Health: Tips for National Women’s Health Week

Nancy C. Lee, M.D.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health-Women’s Health
Director, Office on Women’s Health

As the director of the Office on Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), I care deeply about the health and wellbeing of women and girls. One critical element of women’s health, however, gets overlooked or minimized far too frequently — and that’s mental health.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. In fact, the two are closely connected and interrelated. Take the opportunity this National Women’s Health Week (May 12–18) to learn strategies to improve your mental health, including ways to cope with stress.

Women are especially vulnerable to developing depression when trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy, and after childbirth. About 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers suffer from depression.  And women who are depressed during pregnancy are at greater risk for developing depression after giving birth. Women’s experiences after giving birth are tremendously varied. They can range from incredibly happy and excited to anxious and overwhelmed. Or new mothers may experience the normal “baby blues”, the more serious condition of postpartum depression, or even more serious problems.

What’s the good news? Expectant and new mothers can get help to either prevent or treat these potential health issues.  If you have negative thoughts about your pregnancy or baby, please don’t keep these feelings to yourself. Tell someone you trust like a family member or friend. And remember to call your healthcare provider right away. You don’t need to feel desperate before you reach out to your doctor, nurse, or physician assistant. Thanks to the health care law, a healthcare professional within your health insurance network must offer screening for depression free-of-charge, with no copayment fee and no co-insurance fee. You do not need to first meet your deductible, either.

What can you do if you don’t have insurance or you just want to explore new options? Here’s something to ease your mind: Thanks to the health care law, the Health Insurance Marketplace will open this October. The Marketplace will give Americans who are uninsured or who buy their own health insurance a new way to shop online for insurance. For the first time, Americans will be able to go to one place to get accurate, understandable information on different health insurance plans and to make apples-to-apples comparisons of these plans.  Learn more at and to get ready for enrollment by signing up for email updates.

Remember, mental health is important to your overall health. Seeking help is good for you and for your family. Your baby deserves a happy, healthy new beginning. You deserve to be a happy, healthy pregnant woman and a happy, healthy mom.

Share, Learn, Tell. Share this post with a woman you love. Learn more about mental health and pregnancy by visiting the Office on Women’s Health. Tell us how you are celebrating National Women’s Health Week through the Office on Women’s Health Facebook and Twitter pages.

47 Responses to “Celebrating National Women’s Health Week

  1. Happy National Women’s Health Week! | T.W. Lewis Foundation says:

    [...] Dr. Lee’s National Women’s Health Week blog post about mental [...]

  2. Kmk says:

    Amusing that the government seems to care about healthy pregnancy and promote an abortion business like Planned Parenthood at the same time.

  3. Celebrating National Women's Health Week | HMHB | Weight Loss Tips & Resources says:

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  4. Life Uninterrupted says:

    It is surely true that women must have to maintain a right complete balance between mental and physical health so that they cope with up with type of stress like situation

  5. Insurance says:

    Insurance for women’s health is a serious issue. Many are not able to understand why they are going through the emotions they are experiencing during a pregnancy. When my wife first became pregnant it was a roller coaster of ununderstood emotions and thankful the government has stepped in to guarantee their mental health issues will be addressed. Btw, this may be off topic but we were also thankful when FEMA stepped up and assisted us our flood insurance. Katrina was an experience no one should have to live through…government has it’s uses during stressful times.

  6. Braut says:

    It is good that someone take care of the health of pregnant woman. Especialy at work there is a lot of things which could handeld better for pregnant woman.

  7. depilacja laserow says:

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a superb article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a
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  8. events in sardinia says:

    Sometimes we are so caught up in the stress of work and have a career, that we forget to take care of ourselves

  9. kamino deflektorius says:

    Anyone knows is there going to be 2014 year national womens health week ?

  10. Ioanna W. says:

    very nice…hope it is also in 2014!

  11. Dana says:

    The UK loses around a dozen to the complaint, but there are less Brits of course. This new endangerment to our society is known as instant gratification, and its most targeted audience are our youngest generations.

  12. Tirana Werner says:

    I am working very stressful job and really need some practical training of maintaining my inner peace, hope I can find some women health days also around in my region.

  13. Simon says:

    mental health issues in pregnancy are a lot more serious than a lot of people give it credit for.

    training courses like the ones run by the Birmingham perinatal unit highlight ways for these kinds of problems to be dealt with in training courses from people who have either been through or dealt with the problems first hand. midwives should all be given medals.

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    A neat stack of cups and saucers were placed on top of one another on large shelves on the wall behind the counter. Watch your sodium intake carefully and make sure that you drink plenty of water.

  15. Jackie Allum says:

    I think women in general are more susceptible to depression anyway, not just during or after a pregnancy. I suffer with depression and anxiety, probably a lot more anxiety than depression but I find mine eases of with losing weight and finding weight loss motivation because it’s so positive (especially from my partner) helps the depression a lot. Perhaps finding a lot more support is also the key?

  16. Maria says:

    I’d totally agree with Jackie! Depression, stress and anxiety are in women by nature however it only gets worse post pregnancy.

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    The UK loses around a dozen to the complaint, but there are less Brits of course. This new endangerment to our society is known as instant gratification, and its most targeted audience are our youngest generations.

  18. Bill says:

    I know that my wife really did suffer from post partum depression and we have both worried about our mental fitness and tried to make sure that our kids are in a good place mentally always.

    The fact is for mothers that stay at home that things can be really tough.

    I know that my wife always needs to decompress after I get home from work. I may be getting a bit stressed at worked but can walk away. My wife on the other hand is dealing with a sick kid at home being homeschooled and my son, always a crazy and sensitive 10 year old. Yes mental health for women can be really missed and not disagnosed

  19. baby gender says:

    Thanks for highlighting the issue Nancy. i wish my mother had read an article such as this one when she had to cope with 5 children. Back in those days, issues such as mental health due to birth (and even later when raising children) were not as prominent. As a result, I feel sad when i see my mother at the older age struggling to have a happy and content life due to a weaker than normal mental health.

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  23. Bill says:

    I totally agree. Womens health issues can be much different from mens health issues.

    Was there a Womens Health week for 2014?

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