West Chester, Ohio—Women face a unique set of challenges related to hormonal changes across the reproductive cycle. These can range from premenstrual or peri-menopausal mood and anxiety disorders to postpartum depression. Though these conditions are very common, help is not always available.
The Women’s Center at UC Health West Chester Hospital now offers behavioral health and psychiatry services particularly tailored to address women’s unique needs.
Psychiatrist Jyoti Sachdeva, MD, partners with the obstetricians at the Women’s Center to offer mental health support throughout women’s reproductive cycle. Her team is offering reproductive psychiatry consultations to help women design a mental health treatment plan during preconception, pregnancy or postpartum. These consultations will specifically address safe use of psychiatric medications in relation to pregnancy and postpartum. Therapy support is available as well.
"I’ve always had interest in women’s mental health and wanted to set up a clinic specific for women’s needs. We saw the biggest need for consultations in reproductive psychiatry, treating pregnant and postpartum women with mental health disorders.
"As your body is changing, it can be a challenge to manage medications like antidepressants from pregnancy and through to postpartum,” says Sachdeva, who is also an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
Typically, Sachdeva receives referrals from OB-GYN, for women who are facing pregnancy or postpartum along with mental illness.
"During pregnancy, women are very worried about taking medicines, or a lot of times, when they discover they are pregnant, and they just suddenly stop their medicine, worrying that medication is ‘bad for the baby.’ That is a major concern and misconception.
"It’s worse for the baby if they have untreated mental illness, and there’s a lot of research on it … pregnancy is not necessarily protective of that. With the body’s changing hormone levels, there’s a risk of relapse or perhaps even exacerbation of mental illness in pregnancy and in postpartum, so there should be close followup by a provider.”
Sachdeva explains that in many cases, patients can continue their medications safely.
There is also the chance that a woman can experience initial onset of depression or anxiety during this time and it is important to consult with a psychiatrist.
Sachdeva says that she may only need to see a patient for one consultation, to adjust medication and set up a new plan with their OB-GYN. She says they also hope to soon offer group therapy for pregnant and postpartum women at West Chester with a staff psychologist, particularly for those who are not candidates for medications while pregnant.
She has also begun working with patients from the UC Health Center for Reproductive Endocrinology for patients struggling with infertility or pregnancy loss, or to meet with someone in the early stages of planning for a family.
"We also treat depression and anxiety in that context. For some patients in fertility therapy, the changes in hormones can cause mood and anxiety symptoms.”
In addition to reproductive psychiatry, Sachdeva does see women with premenstrual dysphoric disorders, as well as for menopause, sexual abuse, any mental illness related to women’s health.
For information about a reproductive psychiatry consultation, call 513-558-7700, or to contact the UC Health Women’s Center at West Chester Hospital call 513-475-UC4U.