Learn About Symptoms And Seeking Treatment For Maternal Depression – CDC Says

by Kim Boateng Posted on May 27th, 2018

Atlanta, Georgia, USA: “Moms and moms-to-be deserve the best— including the very best mental health. Learn about maternal depression and seeking help”, the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, wrote in a public post on Sunday.

Depression is a common and serious illness, the CDC says. A CDC study shows that about one 1 out of 10 women in the United States experience symptoms of depression. Using the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), CDC research shows that nationally, about 1 in 9 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression.

Estimates of the number of women affected by postpartum depression differ by age and race/ethnicity. Additionally, postpartum depression estimates vary by state, and can be as high as 1 in 5 women. For example, the CDC report found that postpartum depression symptoms were highest among women 19 years old or younger and American Indian or Alaska Native women.

The CDC says Depression during and after pregnancy is especially common and treatable and is advising those who think they have depression, to seek treatment from their health care provider as soon as possible.

This is the CDC guide which it says is sourced from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Reproductive Health.

Depression During and After Pregnancy

Everyone feels sad sometimes, but these feelings normally pass within a few days. Depression is a serious mood disorder that may last for weeks or months at a time.

Depression causes severe symptoms that affect daily life

Everyone feels sad sometimes, but these feelings normally pass within a few days. Depression is a serious mood disorder that may last for weeks or months at a time.

Postpartum depression is different from the baby blues

Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after having a baby. Feelings of postpartum depression are more intense and last longer than those of “baby blues,” a term used to describe the worry, sadness, and tiredness many women experience after having a baby. CDC research shows that about 1 in 9 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. Estimates of the number of women affected by postpartum depression differ by age and race/ethnicity. For example, this report found that postpartum depression symptoms were highest among women 19 years old or younger and American Indian or Alaska Native women.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression doesn’t feel the same for everyone. How often symptoms occur, how long they last, and how intense they may feel can be different for each person.

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • Lasting sad, anxious, or “empty” mood.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness.
  • Feelings of irritability or restlessness.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities.
  • Loss of energy.
  • Problems concentrating, recalling details, and making decisions.
  • Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much.
  • Overeating or loss of appetite.
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.
  • Aches or pains that do not get better with treatment.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

How often postpartum depression symptoms occur, how long they last, and how intense they feel can be different for each person. The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms for depression, but may also include:

  • Crying more often than usual.
  • Feelings of anger.
  • Withdrawing from loved ones.
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby.
  • Worrying that you will hurt the baby.
  • Feeling guilty about not being a good mom or doubting your ability to care for the baby.

Risk Factors for Depression

Experiences that may put some women at a higher risk for depression can include

  • Stressful live events.
  • Low social support.
  • Previous history of depression.
  • Family history of depression.
  • Difficulty getting pregnant.
  • Being a mom to multiples, like twins, or triplets.
  • Being a teen mom.
  • Preterm (before 37 weeks) labor and delivery.
  • Pregnancy and birth complications.
  • Having a baby who has been hospitalized.

Depression can also occur among women with a healthy pregnancy and birth.

Depression Treatment

Depression is treatable and most people get better with treatment. If you think you may be depressed, the first step to seeking treatment is to talk to your health care provider. You can ask your health care provider for a referral to a mental health professional or visit CDC’s Resources to find help in your area.

If you think you may be depressed, the first step to seeking treatment is to talk to your health care provider.

After your visit, make sure to follow-up on all referrals and treatment that he or she suggests.

When discussing medications with your provider, let him or her know if you are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding. You and your provider can decide if taking medications while pregnant or breastfeeding is right for you.

Almost every pregnant woman will face a decision about taking medicines before and during pregnancy. However, not all medicines are safe to take during pregnancy. Some medicines may cause birth defects, pregnancy loss, prematurity, infant death, or developmental disabilities. “Treating for Two” is a program that aims to improve the health of women and babies by identifying the safest treatment options for common conditions before, during, and after pregnancy.

How Depression Affects Fathers

A 2010 study by the National Institutes of Health, NIH, set out to examine incidence, trends, and correlates of parental depression in primary care from 0 to 12 years of child age.

The results of the study showed that overall incidences of depression from the birth of the child up to age 12 years were 7.53 per 100 person-years for mothers and 2.69 per 100 person-years for fathers. Depression was highest in the first year post partum (13.93 and 3.56 per 100 person-years among mothers and fathers, respectively). By 12 years of child age, 39% of mothers and 21% of fathers had experienced an episode of depression.

A history of depression, lower parental age at the birth of the child, and higher social deprivation were associated with a higher incidence of parental depression.

The NIH study concluded that parents are at highest risk for depression in the first year after the birth of their child. Parents with a history of depression, younger parents, and those from deprived areas are particularly vulnerable to depression. There is a need for appropriate recognition and management of parental depression in primary care. #MentalHealthMonth

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Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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