I attended the 2012 Lamaze Conference this year in Nashville. I gained a great deal of insight on a number of topics, but the one that won’t leave me alone was the lecture I sat in on postpartum depression taught by Genae Strong, PhD, CNM, RNC-OB, IBCLC
Having dealt with postpartum depression with both my children, and as Lamaze certified childbirth educator, I was curious to see what would be shared. I’ll be honest, the information surrounding PPD left me unsettled.
Did you know?
- PPD is a potentially debilitating mood disorder usually detected between 2-6 weeks after birth. (Zauderer, 2009)
- 10-25% of women are affected during their pregnancy or postpartum period with PPD. (Bansil et al, 2010)
- PPD is the most under-diagnosed obstetrical complication in the United States. (Earls, 2010)
- The mother generally doesn’t have an actual estimation of the severity of her illness.
- “PPD is a treatable mood disorder but it is not preventable.” - Genae Strong, PhD, CNM, RNC-OB, IBCLC (Please note, there is a difference in prevention vs. preparation.)
Higher Risk Factors for PPD include (but not limited to):
- Bottle feeding
- History of depression
- A family history of PPD
- A previous episode of PPD
What’s the difference between Maternal Blues (MB) and PPD
- 50-80% of mothers experience MB (almost every mother)
- Appears within the first few days - 2 weeks
- Mood swings
- Feeling sad, anxious or overwhelmed
- Crying spells
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- 13-20% of mothers experience PPD
- Usually detected between 2-6 weeks after birth
- Little interest or pleasure in doing things
- Feeling down, depressed or hopeless
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Not wanting to socialize or join in – social isolation
PPD has long-term effects on the infant, including (but not limited to):
- Sleeping difficulties
- Eating difficulties
- Unusual sensory sensitivities
- Social withdrawal
- Separation distress
- Extreme inhibition
As a childbirth educator I need to:
- Teach the difference between what normal and abnormal emotional and physical responses in the postpartum period look like.
- Encourage women who stop smoking during pregnancy to continue with their efforts.
- Encourage breastfeeding.
- Encourage women to attend at least one postpartum care visit with a health worker.
- Provide handouts with local support information for mothers and families.
- Describe treatment methods for PPD (both medical and non-medical methods) and encourage their use.
- Carefully express the reality that PPD touches not only the mother, but the most vulnerable victim – the child.
For more resources, please visit Postpartum Progress.
To screen yourself for PPD, please visit: Postpartum Support