Introducing the UVA Health Perinatal Mood Disorders Clinic, a new outpatient mental-health clinic dedicated to the care of women during pregnancy and after childbirth. This clinic is a collaboration between the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at UVA Health.
Led by a team of specialized experts, including Dr. Jennifer L. Payne, a psychiatrist with expertise in reproductive psychiatry, Ginny Bowers, a certified nurse midwife training as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and Dr. Chantal Scott, an OB/Gyn specializing in pregnancy and birth, the clinic aims to address mental-health conditions that often arise during the perinatal period.
Research conducted at UVA Health has highlighted the prevalence of mental-health disorders during pregnancy and the early months of motherhood. For instance, a recent study led by Dr. Payne revealed that a significant number of new mothers reported symptoms of postpartum depression, ranging from 6.5% to 10% across different age groups.
The Perinatal Mood Disorders Clinic provides comprehensive care to pregnant individuals and those who have given birth within the last year. The team also offers pre-pregnancy consults for women who wish to plan how to manage their psychiatric medications during pregnancy.
Recognizing the urgent need for specialized mental health support in the obstetric setting, Dr. Scott emphasized the significance of this clinic as a valuable resource for patients experiencing mental health disorders. While there is still more work to be done in the field of comprehensive mental health support, this clinic represents a substantial advancement in obstetric and psychiatric care at UVA.
The clinic currently operates on Tuesday mornings and Wednesday afternoons, with plans to expand appointment availability in the future. Ginny Bowers, highlighting the impact of perinatal mood disorders, expressed her enthusiasm for contributing to this essential service and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families.
At UVA Health Perinatal Mood Disorders Clinic, they believe in early identification and treatment to address perinatal mental health challenges, ensuring the well-being of both mothers and their infants.