What is Reproductive Psychiatry and Why is It Important?

Mental conditions can be debilitating during the female reproductive years. Reproductive psychiatry focuses on addressing the principal factors causing mental disorders. Washington Center for Women’s and Children’s Wellness (WCWCW) applies a holistic approach to Bethesda women’s & reproductive psychiatry.

Reproductive psychiatry vs OB-GYN

Hormonal changes during a woman’s reproductive years can cause physical and psychological changes. An OB-GYN specializes in managing physical symptoms and providing reproductive health care.

The field may include subspecialties like endocrinology and gynecologic oncology. They perform crucial diagnostic procedures like in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.

However, research studies indicate dealing with psychiatric problems is equally important as addressing physical symptoms. The field of reproductive psychiatry is a crucial component today for addressing reproductive health issues.

Reproductive psychiatry emphasizes mental conditions common to women. Some women are susceptible to psychiatric disorders due to the fluctuation of female hormones.

For example, it may involve providing care and treatment for patients with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a more severe form of premenstrual syndrome. It causes erratic shifts in mood that can disrupt daily activity and impact relationships.

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders

Reproductive psychiatry also focuses on mental conditions before and during pregnancy. A surge of estrogen and progesterone during the early days of pregnancy. Estrogen influences the region of the brain concerned with mood. Therefore, fluctuating levels of estrogen may cause mental problems like irritability, anxiety, and depression.

Pregnant women may also experience unexpected incidences of fatigue, lethargy, and sadness. The symptoms are caused by a dip in progesterone, which often occurs during the first trimester.

Post-partum mood and anxiety disorders

Postpartum mood disorder is the most common health issue, occurring within the first three weeks of delivery. Patients experience symptoms like irritability, poor concentration, and a sense of dependency.

Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders usually subside after three weeks. Postpartum Depression (PDD) is a more severe form of the condition. It emerges within the first trimester and occurs in 10% of births.

Reproductive psychiatrists recognize PDD is a serious condition that may have a lasting impact on the family. Symptoms include intense anxiety and depression and a lack of interest in daily activities. It may lead to mother-baby attachment issues caused by feelings of inadequacy in caring for the infant.

Reproductive psychiatrists provide care for patients experiencing grief from reproductive loss for stillbirths and miscarriages. Mood disorders can cause severe symptoms like suicidal ideation and psychotic delusions in extreme causes.

Reproductive psychiatrist diagnosis and treatment procedures

You can manage mild symptoms by adopting a healthy diet during pregnancy or after delivery. Regular exercise can invigorate your body to relieve stress and boost your mood.

But you should consult your provider if you experience prenatal or postpartum symptoms of psychiatric disorders. Your reproductive psychiatrist will prescribe medication and develop a safe treatment based on the diagnosis.

Reproductive psychiatrists have unique skill sets in obstetrics, gynecology, and psychiatry. Their specialty allows them to manage and treat mental conditions to enhance reproductive health for female patients.

Consult Washington Center for Women’s and Children’s Wellness (WCWCW) to schedule a reproductive psychiatry appointment today.