Today, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) put out a recommendation suggesting expanded screenings for depression in the general adult population, including pregnant and postpartum women.
It stated that “screenings should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up.” This was an update of the 2009 USPSTF recommendation on screening for depression in adults.
John Greden, M.D., executive director of the U-M Depression Center, strongly endorses these recommendations. Read on for his thoughts:
Having a baby is one of the most joyous occasions of one’s life, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t also come with emotional ups and downs. More than half of all new moms will experience postpartum “blues” about three to four days after delivery. Baby blues are caused by sleep deprivation and hormone fluctuations and typically pass in about one to two weeks.
To help cope with the baby blues, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Eating well helps, as does getting sleep. Try to sleep when the baby does. Limit well-meaning visitors who may be more of a burden than help for the first several weeks. If you had a c-section, realize that your baby blues may be exacerbated by the stress hormones released while your surgical site heals.
For the first few weeks after baby is born, focus on the fundamentals — eating well and sleeping (for both you and the baby). Spend time bonding with your baby and don’t worry if the house gets dirty or you haven’t showered for a day or two. By the time the baby is six weeks old, life will settle down a bit, and it will settle down even more so by the time he or she is four months old. That’s a relatively short time period to just focus on the fundamentals of caring for yourself and your baby.
Some women have more than the baby blues, they have post-partum depression. Continue reading →
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