Mental Wellness

Depression and Anxiety 

It is common for pregnant women to experience anxiety or sadness. About one in eight women will struggle with some symptoms of depression during pregnancy, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When you are pregnant, you encounter new challenges ranging from morning sickness to mood swings. If you are concerned that you are experiencing depression, take this quick survey. Put a check next to any statements that sound familiar to you.

During the past week or two

  • I have been unable to laugh and see the funny side of things.

  • I have not looked forward to things I usually enjoy. 

  • I have blamed myself unnecessarily when things went wrong. 

  • I have been anxious or worried for no good reason. 

  • I have felt scared or panicky for no good reason. 

  • Things have been getting the best of me. 

  • I have been so unhappy that I have had difficulty sleeping. 

  • I have felt sad or miserable. 

  • I have been so unhappy that I have been crying. 

  • I have no interest in caring for my baby.* 

  • The thought of harming myself, my baby or others has occurred to me.*

Did you check more than one box? Have the feelings lasted more than two weeks? If so, it is time to talk to someone — whether it’s your partner, a family member, friend or your medical provider. If you checked either of the options in bold, you should seek help immediately by calling 911 or Mobile Crisis at 561-637-2102 or dial 2-1-1.

Depression is an illness, not a weakness. You are not alone. There is help. Call us or learn more about our Circle of Moms program for pregnant and postpartum moms struggling with depression and anxiety. 

This survey does not replace the advice of a health care provider. Ask him/her for more information on this topic. Survey courtesy of the Florida Department of Health.

If you are struggling with pregnant or postpartum depression, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies offers free peer-to-peer support groups where you can talk about your challenges with other mothers. Contact us today to learn more or review our Circle of Moms schedule.

Source: Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County Pregnancy Guide, 2018

Substance Misuse

If you are taking opioids or any other substance and become pregnant, talk to your doctor immediately. A plan needs to be developed with your doctor before quitting, quitting suddenly can have severe negative health problems for you and your baby.

Stopping suddenly can cause 

  • Stillbirth, the death of the baby in the womb. 

  • Growth and development issues for your baby. 

  • Preterm labor and premature birth. 

  • Placental abruption — a condition when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth. It can cause heavy bleeding and be life-threatening to you and the baby. 

If exposed to drugs in the womb, babies go through withdrawal after birth. Called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), the babies can be born too small and have breathing problems.

Continual use of opioids or other substances during pregnancy can cause harm to your baby.

Using opioids during your pregnancy can cause

  • A miscarriage

  • Preterm labor, premature birth and low birthweight

  • Birth defects, including heart defects and spina bifida. Spina bifida is a birth defect of the brain and spinal cord.

Get help now

If you are addicted to opioids, you need help for your baby’s sake and your own sake. There also are treatment programs in Palm Beach County specifically for pregnant women addicted to drugs:

  • Drug Abuse Foundation, Inc. 561-278-0000 

  • Jerome Golden Center Inc. (PANDA) 561-993-8082 

  • Rebel Recovery FL 561-508-8388 

  • Wayside House Inc. 561-278-0055 

  • Jerome Golden Center 561-992-8707 

  • Jerome Golden Center 561-383-5777 

  • South County Mental Health Center 561-495-0522 or 561-637-2102

Smoking and Vaping

If you are a smoker, stop. It is hard to quit, but it is even harder to deal with the effects of smoking. If you continue to smoke during pregnancy you and your unborn baby will have an increased chance of health longterm problems: 

Your Baby’s Health

  • Premature birth

  • Being born too small

  • Stillbirth

  • Certain birth defects

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

  • Having ear infections and respiratory problems after birth

Your Health

  • Miscarriage

  • Lung cancer and other cancers

  • Heart disease

  • Stroke

  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

  • Emphysema

  • Other chronic issues

So how can you quit smoking

Talk to your medical provider or Call 1-877-U-CAN-QUIT (1-877-822-6669) to speak with someone about quitting. offers several paths to help you quit, including a Quit Coach. You can receive two weeks of nicotine patches or gum for free.

Source: Florida Department of Health.

Domestic Violence

Pregnancy can be a stressful time. It can bring out the best in people who are ready to be by you and your baby’s side. Unfortunately, it also can bring out the worst in people. Studies show that about 16 percent of all pregnant women report being physically abused by a partner and 36 percent report verbal abuse. Some researchers have estimated that more than 300,000 pregnant women annually in the United States experience intimate partner violence. 

Domestic violence puts your health at risk and your unborn baby’s health at risk. It is unacceptable. If you fear you may be in an abusive relationship, the March of Dimes suggests you ask yourself the following questions: 

Are you in an abusive relationship

  • Has my partner caused me physical pain? 

  • Does my partner always seem to put me down and make me feel bad about myself?

  • Does my partner physically threaten me or others close to me? 

  • Does my partner threaten to harm himself? 

  • Does my partner blame me for his/her decisions and actions? 

  • Has my partner promised to never hurt me again, but still does? 

  • Is my partner becoming more violent? 

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you may be in an unhealthy situation. If you need advice or someone to talk with there is help locally in Palm Beach County.

Get help now

  • Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse 1-800-355-8547 

  • Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence 1-800-500-1119 

  • Palm Beach County Victim Services Hotline 561-833-7273

Depressed women sitting and looking out a window.