Maternal Wellness

Pregnancy & Parenting Support of San Luis Obispo County staff members respond to Postpartum Depression Support Line calls. We provide emotional support, educational and assessment services. By working with our partners at Community Counseling Center and other professional treatment providers, we connect pregnant/postpartum women and their families with qualified treatment services and accessible health resources as needed.

In San Luis Obispo County Help is available on our Support Line through Pregnancy & Parenting Support of San Luis Obispo County at 805-541-3367

Additional Community Resources:

For more information and support, visit Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD) SLO Website at

If you need immediate help, we strongly encourage calling SLO Hotline at 805.783.0607 (for long distance 800.783.0607) for free mental health support-confidential, free and available 24 hours every day.

In Santa Barbara/Santa Maria help is available at Postpartum Education for Parents (PEP) Warmline 805-564-3888.

Click here for a brochure in English

Click here for a brochure in Spanish

Postpartum Depression can be mild or severe. All women suffering from some level of Postpartum Depression need help and support. The degrees of severity of Postpartum Depression are discussed below, along with an informational video.

To learn more about Postpartum Depression, view the award-winning video “Feel Like Yourself Again.”

The Baby Blues

The “baby blues” is a mild, temporary condition experienced by as many as 80% of new mothers within the first few days after childbirth. In spite of careful planning, the sense of responsibility and the reality of caring for a new baby does not really hit most parents until the first few days at home.

Due to a sudden drop in hormones, a woman may feel weepy, exhausted, anxious, or tense. If these feelings seem overwhelming, or continue past the first two weeks, a woman should seek help from a caring professional.

What can you do to ease the baby blues?

  • SLEEP – Take time out for naps. Sleep when given the opportunity.
  • EAT – Have small, nutritious, and easy to prepare meals throughout the day.
  • SUPPORT – Talk with non-judgmental friends or family who allow you to express your feelings. Ask for help, accept help. Let someone else do the cooking and cleaning.

Postpartum Depression

True postpartum depression is different from the baby blues. One in every six women experiences postpartum depression.

There are many factors that can contribute, including:

  • hormonal changes after birth
  • sleep deprivation
  • a difficult birth
  • a fussy baby
  • a history of depression
  • a history of physical or emotional abuse
  • a poor support system or a difficult relationship.

Symptoms may include:

  • feeling sad day after day
  • no energy to care for self or baby
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • crying for no apparent reason
  • anxiety, frightening thoughts or fantasies
  • eating problems
  • feeling that something is not right


May occur during pregnancy, immediately after birth or many months later. The longer a depression goes undiagnosed and untreated, the more impact it has on the woman and her family. Postpartum depression often leaves women feeling ashamed, isolated and with overwhelming feelings of guilt.


Is a common symptom among all postpartum disorders. Specific anxiety disorders can develop or worsen after childbirth.

Panic disorders

May include sudden increase in anxiety, palpitations and chest pains, hot or cold flashes, difficulty breathing, shaking, dizziness, or fear of losing control or going crazy.

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

May include strong physical sensation (butterflies), repetitive, intrusive or repulsive thoughts, thoughts of harming self or baby, avoiding the baby, compulsive behaviors such as hand washing, checking and rechecking, counting or touching, and housecleaning.

Anti-depressant medications often help with the symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety disorders.

Postpartum Psychosis

One to two of every thousand women will experience a more serious disorder know as postpartum psychosis. Symptoms include: severe or rapid mood swings, agitation or hyperactivity, irrational thoughts, incoherent statements, hallucinations, inability to care for self or baby, thoughts of harming self or baby, losing touch with reality and delirium or mania.

The mother’s condition can change rapidly. One moment things seem normal, and the next moment the mother is not acting like herself. Postpartum psychosis is truly an emergency and requires immediate care


Some women with postpartum emotional disorders recover without incident. Many others need professional help. Postpartum emotional problems are physical and real. A woman can not “pull herself out of it” any more than she can pull herself out of a heart attack.

A woman experiencing any of the symptoms can call our Support Line 805-541-3367 for free confidential information and referrals. All the symptoms, from the mildest to the most severe are temporary and treatable. Treatment varies, depending on the severity of the symptoms.