Screening New Moms for Postpartum Depression

Creative Commons License photo credit: ThoseCameraCurls

Around 15 percent of all new moms will experience postpartum depression during that first year after their baby is born. This is a staggering thing, when you think about it; almost one in every seven new moms will experience the guilt, anxiety, fear, and other problems that go along with postpartum depression. While our society’s awareness of postpartum depression is increasing, we still have a long way to go in really adequately addressing the problem.

PPD doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom

One of the reasons that postpartum depression most often goes undiagnosed is the stigma that new moms fear from admitting a problem. They’re worried that others will see them as a bad mother, and so many women simply suffer in silence.

Even many doctors today still feel unprepared to deal with the implications of looking at a new mom’s mental health. That being said, early diagnosis means early treatment, and it means that there’s less of a chance of some truly negative impact on the child. Ironically, those women who suffer in silence are more likely to cause trouble for their child than those who admit the problem.

Some progress in screening

Other health care providers are more prepared to help that 15% of new moms. They’re using new screening protocols, and taking advantage of public and private educational and awareness programs.

Some states are even pursuing legislation that helps to not only bring awareness, but make screening for postpartum depression a regular part of medical care when a baby is born.

A family approach

One of the key things that we’re learning about postpartum depression is that it really involves the whole family. It’s not just the new mom’s problem; it has ripples that can impact everyone, from her partner to the other children to the new baby.

Some of the newest treatment methods and approaches to PPD are looking at family-based treatment. They seek to educate other family members, and work through family issues that go along with postpartum depression. This helps to strengthen the woman’s support system at the time she needs it most.

So, what do you think? What else can we do to help moms with postpartum depression?

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