Feb 07

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What You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression Screenings


What You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression Screenings

What You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression Screenings

Postpartum depression can appear shortly after you give birth, but it can last for months or years. It can leave you feeling like a failure as a mother and makes you question your decision to have a child. However, postpartum depression screenings are becoming more common, and you need to know about them.

Being a psychiatric nurse, and having known a gal who did commit suicide postpartum and knowing many of my friends over the years who had postpartum depression, I write about these things to share with you because I know and experience them.  I myself had postpartum depression, aka baby blues, which was an awful thing to go through and I am sure predisposed me to having clinical depression.

So please, do not think something is wrong with you if you are blue after having a baby…postpartum depression can be very very serious.  Here is what you need to know:

What are Postpartum Depression Screenings?

They are usually simple tests that your doctor can do in his or her office to see if you may be suffering from postpartum depression. There are no invasive tools, and the screenings tend to be a series of questions. Your doctor will probably use the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) that has 10 questions for you to answer. The answers are rated on a scale, so scores of 13 or higher indicate you may have postpartum depression.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression appears after childbirth and has multiple symptoms such as serious anxiety, severe mood swings, ongoing irritability, thoughts of suicide and thoughts of hurting the baby. The mother also experiences a loss of appetite, ongoing insomnia and loses interest in the things she used to love. Shame and guilt are also prominent feelings, so many mothers with postpartum depression feel worthless.

Why Postpartum Depression Screenings Matter

Since many women are ashamed to talk about their symptoms and feel guilty about not being happy after childbirth, they usually do not want to discuss the possibility of postpartum depression with their doctor. However, viewing a postpartum depression screening as a regular part of a doctor’s exam can remove some of this shame and worry.

Many doctors are making postpartum depression screenings a normal and routine part of the care they offer to women after they give birth. If you suspect that either you or a woman you know has postpartum depression, it is important to reach out and seek help right away.

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