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Perinatal psychology: what is it and what functions does it perform?

Perinatal psychology: what is it and what functions does it perform?

July 18, 2024

Being a mother is one of the most incredible and rewarding life experiences that can be experienced . But this culminating moment of life also brings many challenges, since the mother figure is extremely important for the growth of a child and decisively influences how it develops in different areas of his life: personal well-being, academic environment, work, interpersonal relationships, etc.

Although motherhood is a wonderful moment and maternal feeling will accompany a mother throughout her life, some mothers may feel lonely, suffer anxiety before or after pregnancy, experience a complicated delivery, suffer stress in these circumstances or suffer postpartum depression, among many other psychological phenomena.


Luckily, experts in perinatal psychology help mothers control these concerns or overcome the emotional problems that may arise during the process of conception, pregnancy and the initial parenting stage.

What is perinatal psychology?

Perinatal Psychology can be defined as a specialty of Psychology that covers all psychological aspects that are present before and during pregnancy, delivery, postpartum, parenting and the bond with the baby. Therefore, it provides knowledge and tools to help mothers or expectant mothers (although also parents) to overcome the difficulties that may appear in these important stages of their lives, and aims to offer them the necessary psychological resources to increase their well-being and improving their quality of life, as well as that of their baby and, in general, that of their family.


Being a mother can bring new challenges, demanding periods, unstable periods and can generate stress, so all the resources you have at this specific moment in the life cycle will decisively influence your adaptation and the success of this transition.

Difficulties faced by mothers and fathers

Throughout our lives, people must face different situations of change that require the necessary adaptation to face them and evolve . Maternity / paternity is one of the most outstanding stages of transition, and causes moments of great impact in the life of an individual.

In this context, the application of Perinatal Psychology is of great importance, which, according to the Spanish Association of Perinatal Psychology, intervenes in the following areas:

  • Fears and fear associated with childbirth and pregnancy.
  • Complicated and traumatic births.
  • Emotional management of pregnancy and recovery after childbirth.
  • Babies born prematurely.
  • Parenting at early ages and early childhood.
  • Difficulties in breastfeeding.
  • Puerperio with difficulties of bond with the baby.
  • Awareness of the experience of childbirth and cesarean section.
  • Postpartum depression or other pathologies associated with this life stage.
  • Loss of a baby and grieving process.
  • Problems of adaptation to motherhood or fatherhood
  • Development of a secure bond with the baby
  • Personal growth from a conscious motherhood
  • Difficulties in conceiving a child

How does perinatal psychology help families?

One of the main tasks of Perinatal Psychology is the protection of the mental health of both parents and babies , so it is aimed at prevention, support, diagnosis and treatment throughout the process that precedes the birth of a child. Psychoeducation is key in this sense.


However, experts in this field not only intervene and act before the birth, but also afterwards, with the aim of promoting a healthy bond between the parents and the baby. The effect that the intervention has on the parents is crucial not only for them, but also for the family relationship in general and for all the actors that make up the family. Perinatal Psychology fosters the abilities and skills and self-esteem of parents, and addresses the difficulties that may arise along the way

When to seek help?

Perinatal psychologists offer psychological support in varied situations.

1. Support before conception

Some couples may have trouble conceiving. At other times, they simply want to be prepared for this important moment in their life: the birth of a child. Perinatal psychologists, for example, can work with parents to modify their beliefs about what it means to have a child if they are irrational or can work with them to overcome past traumatic experiences, such as the loss of a baby.

2. Prenatal and perinatal support

Perinatal Psychology helps pregnant mothers who face emotional or physical challenges during childbirth, but can also be helpful in preparing for the birth process. Anxiety in pregnancy or fear of childbirth are psychological phenomena experienced by some mothers.

3. Postnatal support

If the delivery was an excessive or traumatic challenge for the mother and / or the baby, the mother (and the father) can benefit from the psychological support provided by experts in perinatal psychology, who also offer assistance to overcome, for example, depression postpartum

  • Related article: "Postpartum depression: causes, symptoms and treatment"

4. Family support

The arrival of a new child (or when the birth has been traumatic) not only changes the life of the mother, but the rest of the family members can also have problems of adaptation in this context. Perinatal Psychology is key because it provides necessary tools for parents and the family in these situations.

Where to find a trusted perinatal psychologist?

To be able to benefit from this therapeutic practice it is necessary to put yourself in good hands. In Spain there are good professionals who offer the maximum guarantees of psychological assistance in this specialty, but it is necessary to find a trustworthy clinic, where you feel comfortable exposing your problem. If you are going through a situation similar to the one presented in the previous lines, do not be discouraged because it is possible to overcome it.

The Psychology Center El Prado Psychologists has some of the best experts in Perinatal Psychology, all with extensive training and experience. It is located in Madrid, employs short and effective treatments from an integrative orientation, and is qualified as a Health Center by the government of this autonomous community. The professionals at El Prado Psychologists put different techniques into practice so that you can enjoy the beautiful experience of being a mother or father and recover the emotional balance to live a full and satisfying life.

This reference clinic is at the forefront of psychotherapy, and applies the latest advances in research and the most effective therapeutic procedures: clinical hypnosis, mindfulness, relaxation techniques and other techniques such as EFT for emotional release, etc. Its methodology does not exclude any therapeutic model, since its purpose is to adapt better to the needs of each patient.

You can contact El Prado Psychologists through this link.


Day in the Life of: A Clinical Psychologist (July 2024).


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