HOUSTON (Jan. 7, 2019) – In a country where women have access to some of the best pre- and post-natal care in the world, only about half realize that postpartum depression, a severe, long-lasting mood disorder some women experience after childbirth, affects 1 in 7 women, according to a recent survey.
A survey on postpartum depression was evenly distributed across the country to more than 200 women. Respondents anonymously answered questions regarding the effects of postpartum depression on women, their babies, and family. Kelsey-Seybold Clinic physicians reviewed the results and found that misconceptions regarding postpartum depression persist, despite increased exposure and discussion in recent years.
Many new mothers will experience the “baby blues” after childbirth, which can begin within the first few days after delivery and last up to two weeks. Baby blues are characterized by feelings of sadness, anxiety, loneliness, fatigue, and sometimes uncontrollable crying. And while the “baby blues” is more common among new moms, 30 percent of survey respondents do not believe there is a difference between the “baby blues” and postpartum depression, even though the two conditions are distinct.
“Postpartum depression is a serious mood disorder, which may affect the mother’s ability to care for herself and her newborn,” said Deepali Patni, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., an OB/GYN at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “It’s why we spend time during prenatal visits assessing a pregnant woman’s risk for developing postpartum depression and the reason why new moms are assessed at the 2 and 6 week postpartum checkups to identify those who may be experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression.”
Postpartum depression may include intense, long-lasting feelings of sadness, anxiety, and withdrawal; excessive irritability or anger; difficulty concentrating or focusing on tasks; and thoughts of hurting oneself or their baby.
“For many new mothers, a diagnosis of postpartum depression can come as a surprise. They’re chalking up their feelings of sadness, anxiety, and helplessness to the exhaustion of being a new mom, and sometimes they feel they are failing at being a new mother. Almost half of all women who experience postpartum depression have never experienced a bout of depression, so they didn’t know what to look for,” said Jesus Samaniego, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., an OB/GYN at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “For all new moms out there, if you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, see your doctor. There are treatment options, and complete recovery is achievable.”
Nearly 80 percent of survey respondents agreed that feeling supported, during and after pregnancy, plays a role in the happiness new moms feel when welcoming a new baby into the family.
“We’re all so used to doing everything independently. New moms and dads should tap into the wealth of knowledge and assistance that family members, friends, neighbors, lactation consultants, pediatricians, and their OB/GYN offer when a new baby arrives,” said Megan Pallister, M.D., an OB/GYN at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “Doing so can genuinely help alleviate some of those new-parent stressors.”
Women having thoughts of harming themselves or their baby should immediately put the baby in a safe place, such as in a crib, and call their doctor or their doctor’s emergency line for instructions on what to do next. If unable to connect with your physician, call someone you trust and ask to be taken to a local hospital emergency room.
Other resources that may be of help to women experiencing postpartum depression include:
Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.
About Kelsey-Seybold Clinic
Kelsey-Seybold Clinic is Houston’s premier multispecialty group practice, founded in 1949 by Dr. Mavis Kelsey in Houston’s famous Texas Medical Center. More than 400 physicians and allied health professionals practice at 19 locations and an accredited Sleep Center in the Greater Houston area. Medical services offered by Kelsey-Seybold include medical care in 55 medical specialties including primary care and specialty care, outpatient surgery centers, an accredited Sleep Center, a Radiation Therapy Center, laboratory services, advanced radiology services and other diagnostic services, 15 onsite Kelsey pharmacies and a secure web portal for patients to communicate with their Kelsey-Seybold doctors, get test results and schedule appointments. Patients enrolled in a KelseyCare health benefits plan have access to Telemedicine Services managed by Kelsey-Seybold providers including E-Visits and Video Visits.
Kelsey-Seybold has been recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as the nation’s first accredited Accountable Care Organization and a Level 3 (highest) Patient-Centered Medical Home. Kelsey-Seybold has many physicians in the Greater Houston area certified for excellence in diabetes and heart and stroke care by the NCQA. In addition to these recognitions, Kelsey-Seybold is home to a nationally accredited Breast Diagnostic Center, Endoscopy Center, Infusion Center and Cancer Center.