The Day Hospital is the nation’s first outpatient program treating pregnant women and new mothers with depression, anxiety or other emotional distress, and their babies in a warm, nurturing setting. The concept of keeping mothers and babies together during treatment was unique when the Day Hospital opened in 2000.
Research has shown that keeping babies with their mothers promotes bonding and leads to better outcomes for the women.
Every woman faces adjustments when she becomes a mother, but for 10 to 20 percent of women, the emotional and psychological changes brought on by pregnancy and childbirth are more than they can handle alone.
In these cases, women may be depressed or anxious; they may cry easily or wonder if something is wrong with them. It’s more than the baby blues, and can severely impact a family’s life or even endanger the woman and others. Depression
, psychosis or anxiety can make it hard for a woman to:
- Take care of herself, her baby or other children
- Bond or engage with her baby
- Function at home or at work
The Day Hospital offers short-term, intensive mental health care for expectant and new mothers in a supportive and nurturing environment that can help them experience the joys of motherhood. The goal is to help patients understand that these negative feelings are not their fault, and to give them ways to overcome them.
Although depression and anxiety are the most common reasons women seek help at the Day Hospital, staff can also treat women with obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mood disorders.Treatment
Women in the Day Hospital attend every weekday for between one and three weeks, depending on their needs. Their babies stay with them or sleep in a nearby nursery. Every woman’s program is tailored specifically to her unique needs and can include:
- Group, individual and family therapy to encourage the development of positive coping skills
- Assessment of the mother-baby unit and the family
- Medication assessment
- Educational support
- Nutrition consultation
- Lactation consultation
- Support for bonding and connecting with their babies
- Health education on such topics as transition to motherhood, caring for a baby, and relaxation techniques
- Personalized outpatient care plan to follow after discharge
Day Hospital staff will also make any needed referrals for colic, as well as more intensive levels of psychological care for the mother. Some women will need individual appointments with a perinatal psychiatrist, therapist, or lactation consultant. These can be scheduled before or after the Day Hospital hours.