Coping with Depression in Pregnancy and Following the Birth

A cognitive behaviour therapy-based self-management guide for women

This workbook has been contributed to HeretoHelp by our partners at the BC Reproductive Mental Health Program of BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services. We highly recommend this resource for women wanting to learn self-help skills to prevent and manage depression during pregnancy and after birth. This resource includes basic information for women and their health care providers, as well as advice on getting help, making changes, and preventing relapse.

What you'll find in the toolkit

This workbook consists of six modules:

Module 1: Introduction for health care providers

  • Why this guide was created

  • What is the BC Reproductive Mental Health Program

  • Who is this guide for?

  • How to use this guide

  • We’re looking for feedback

  • Disclaimer

  • Acknowledgements

Module 2: Information for women

What is depression during pregnancy and following the birth?

  • Learning about the symptoms of depression

  • If I am depressed why do I feel anxious?

  • Why some women develop depression

  • Why some women choose not to seek help

Module 3: Getting help

a. Treatment options for women with depression during pregnancy and following the birth

  • What are the treatment options for depression?

  • How do I choose which treatment is best for me?

  • Using Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy to treat depression

b. Cognitive behaviour therapy for depression during pregnancy and following the birth

  • The Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy model of depression

  • Understanding the connection between different symptoms

c. Self-care: The NEST-S program

  • Nutrition

  • Exercise

  • Sleep

  • Time for yourself

  • Support

Module 4: Action

a. Making positive changes

  • Goal setting

  • Learning how to solve problems

b. Challenging depressive thinking

  • Why is it important to identify and challenge depressive thoughts?

  • What is depressive thinking during pregnancy and following the birth of your baby?

  • Thinking traps

  • What is healthy thinking?

Module 5:  Maintaining gains and relapse prevention

  • Introduction to maintaining gains and relapse prevention

  • Steps to success

  • If you do experience an increase in symptoms…

  • What to do if you become pregnant again

Grace’s story

  • One woman’s journey using this guide

Module 6: Handouts for women

  • Self-test for depression symptoms in pregnancy and postpartum—Edinburgh postnatal depression scale (EPDS)

  • The Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy model of depression

  • Goal setting worksheet

  • Thought challenging worksheet

  • Problem solving worksheet

  • Tips for talking with your doctor about your symptoms

  • What your loved ones can do to support you 

 
BC Reproductive Mental Health Program

To learn more about the BC Reproductive Mental Health Program, visit their website or call 604-875-2025. This program is available to all BC residents with a referral from a physician or midwife.

 
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