Nearly everyone has heard of Postpartum Depression, but little attention has been paid to the anxiety that can arise during pregnancy and after delivery. It is normal to worry about the pregnancy and baby, but for many women this becomes more than the occasional concern and is accompanied by insomnia, panic symptoms, or feeling on edge and overwhelmed. Habits that were helpful in the past, such as organization, cleanliness, and planning can become unhelpful or even disruptive. Many women also experience sudden, unwanted images of harming their child, despite feeling love and connection towards the baby. Finally, women who struggle to become or stay pregnant can feel extra pressure to be "over the moon" and ecstatic with their child, despite feeling the same mood and anxiety changes that other parents go through.

The miracle of birth can bring unexpected complex emotions.

The miracle of birth can bring unexpected complex emotions.


Social media shows us pictures of happy women and families enjoying their pregnancies and babies, so any experience of discomfort, frustration, sadness or even trauma can lead to shame and thoughts of failing at motherhood. Society has normalized "helicopter parenting" and excessive worry, so we accept the discomfort as normal. However, what if we could learn to regulate our anxiety, so that we didn't suffer? What if we learned to feel our emotions fully and deeply, so we could connect more with our child(ren) and loved ones? 


What: Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety Treatment Group
Who: Women who are pregnant or have infants (or young children) and suffer from anxiety When: Thursdays, 11-1 pm, beginning February 14th (rolling admission)
Where: BOLD Health, 561 Saxony Place, Suite 101, Encinitas, 92024
Cost: $75 per class (6 class commitment)
Contact: Katie Hirst, MD (760) 503 - 4703 or
Register: email


Dr. Katie Hirst, MD

Dr. Katie Hirst, MD

Dr. Katie Hirst, MD - BAckGROUND

While training in Family Medicine and Psychiatry at UC San Diego, I was asked to start seeing women who were screened for postpartum depression and needed medication for treatment. There were no providers within the health care system who specialized in treating women during pregnancy and after delivery, and I was in my 3rd year (out of 5) of training at that time. I struggled to find supervisors who had time to help train me, so I began the journey of learning about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, attending multiple conferences, reading every article and book I could find, and reaching out to the international community of women's mental health specialists. Two years later, when I graduated from training in 2009, I accepted a faculty position at UC San Diego in order to formally create a Maternal Mental Health Program. While there, I trained psychiatrists, family medicine physicians and pediatricians to screen and care for pregnant and postpartum women. I gave talks around the country and internationally on various topics, and organized several conferences in San Diego to educate health care providers locally. In 2013, our clinic opened an Intensive Outpatient Program to serve women who needed more intensive treatment. 

I left UC San Diego in late 2013 in order to seek treatment for my own postpartum mental illness--opioid addiction. I ended up taking nearly 3 years off from work in order to find a new balance for my personal and work life, and returned to work at Bold Health in September 2016. I feel that my journey has come full circle, in that I am able to care for women during this challenging, yet beautiful, time. However, I am able to focus more on psychotherapy techniques than medication alone, and balance my time at work with time to care for myself and my family.