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Seasonal Affective Disorder and Your Pregnancy

Seasonal Affective Disorder and Your Pregnancy

Written by: Mrs. Stephanie Moir, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Qualified Florida Mental Health Supervisor, Founder of Serene Mind Counseling

Being pregnant through the long winter months can be overwhelming and isolating. For some expecting moms it can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as “SAD”. This is a form of depression that presents itself during the change in the seasons; typically, soon-to-be moms experience SAD in the fall and winter months. SAD is often referred to as “seasonal depression” or “the winter blues.” The symptoms of SAD are similar to those of major depression and tend to last about 4-5 months each year. 

Signs of SAD can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Insomnia or over-sleeping 
  • Feeling hopeless, depressed, and/or worthless
  • Losing motivation for activities you normally enjoy
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Experiencing suicidal thoughts

SAD should not be brushed off or taken lightly. This is especially true for those who are pregnant. The hormonal changes women experience during pregnancy put them at higher risk of developing SAD and can cause symptoms to be much more severe. These symptoms risk impacting the health and safety of both mom and baby. It is incredibly important for pregnant women to take action to combat these feelings of depression and receive help and support from their partners and treating health professionals. 

Some tips for moms to combat SAD include:

  • Exercise! Getting regular exercise helps fight feelings of depression. Set a goal and stick to it, even if you’re only exercising for 10 minutes a day. Some gentile exercises include:
    • Prenatal yoga
    • Going for a walk (especially helpful when the sun is shining)
  • Get as much light as possible! Seasonal depression is tied to the lack of sunlight during the winter months. Exposing yourself to real light, or a substitute, every day can be extremely beneficial. This can be accomplished by:
    • Sitting near windows when indoors
    • Taking Vitamin D supplements
    • Using a “light box” to simulate sunlight for 30 minutes a day, also known as Light Therapy
  • Seek professional help. A mental health therapist can assist you with building skills to cope with difficult situations and replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts and actions. This can be accomplished through:
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
    • Talk Therapy
  • Take antidepressants or supplements if needed
    • Your doctor can help determine what medications will be safe to take during your pregnancy

SAD while pregnant can be isolating and hard to overcome. By bringing awareness to how you feel and recognizing your symptoms, you can be in control of your mindset and mental health during your pregnancy. Having a healthy mindset is wonderful for you and your baby.

Mrs. Stephanie Moir, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Qualified Florida Mental Health Supervisor, Founder of Serene Mind, she loves working with teens, young adults, millennials, moms and adults. She has an easy way of making her clients feel at home, and safe, while at the same time holding them accountable for accomplishing their goals.

Rapport building and connecting with her as a therapist is of utmost importance to her. She builds trust from day one with her clients making it easier to speak freely about anything you want.

Mrs. Stephanie has over 13 years experience in counseling clients and over 11 years experience conducting vocational evaluations.

Her passion for helping women experiencing infertility and postpartum diagnosis, comes from her own personal journey with experiencing infertility herself and a traumatic delivery with her miracle baby boy. Mrs. Stephanie empowers her clients through their journey towards regaining happiness and confidence.

Mrs. Stephanie was born in Lima, Peru and from a young age was interested in helping people. Since Kindergarten, when she was asked what she would dream of studying, her answer was always medicine.

This developed into the study of psychology, while an undergrad at the University of Florida. During her time there, she began to grow her interest in social psychology and the field of counseling. While at the University of Florida, Mrs. Stephanie volunteered with children at Camp Boggy Creek and as a Child Life Specialist in the pediatric unit at Shands Hospital.

She graduated with her master's degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from the University of South Florida. While completing her masters, she worked with children and teens at two Tampa Bay Baker Act receiving facilities. Through her experience she learned how much improvement and advocacy is needed for individuals with mental health diagnosis. The stigma placed on mental health is alarming.

Many people do not seek help due to feeling embarrassed or scared about having a diagnosis or needing some extra guidance. The entire point of her therapy sessions are not to label but to teach. By teaching clients what they have and teaching them to overcome, they are better informed and better able to control their symptoms.

Mrs. Stephanie has made it her mission to de-stigmatize mental health and empower individuals to speak about their own mental health symptoms.

Aside from counseling Mrs. Stephanie conducts vocational evaluations for the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. She works with people of various physical and mental disabilities who are attempting to gain employment, attend college or a vocational program.

Mrs. Stephanie is also a Qualified Licensed Mental Health Counselor Supervisor for the state of Florida and meets for group supervision with awesome counselors working towards licensure.

Mrs. Stephanie has been a feature blogger and expert contributor with Tampa Bay Moms Group and Tampa Bay Moms Blog. She has presented to University of South Florida students interested in joining the vocational field. As well as, Tampa Bay Preparatory Parent Education Committee, in regards to depression and anxiety in the modern culture.

Mrs. Stephanie has been featured on: Tampa Daytime, WFLA NBC News Tampa Bay, WFLA NBC News Tampa Bay, Careers in Psychology, Healthline News, Tampa Bay Fox News, Talkspace, Psych Central, Huff Post, Romper, Up Journey, ABC Action News Tampa Bay, ABC Tampa Action News, University of Tampa, and Tampa Bay Great Day.

In her spare time, Mrs. Stephanie previously volunteered with Frame Works of Tampa Bay at low income schools, where she educated students on social emotional learning. She contributes to the Tampa Bay community by volunteering with Paws for Friendship, along with her pet therapy dog, Bruce Lee. Her passion in ending the negative stigma associated with mental health, is a daily task she works towards with each person throughout the Tampa Bay community.

You can reach Stephanie and her Assistant at:

Stephanie’s Link for Online Sessions is:

Availability: Accepting new clients for individual online and in person sessions

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