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Why Pregnant Women and New Moms Should be Screened for Depression

Why Pregnant Women and New Moms Should be Screened for Depression
April 15
16:21 2016

There are so many joys to being pregnant and this beautiful journey only continues after you give birth to a bundle of cuteness. But, you have to take the bad with the good. Not every moment being a new mom is a happy one. With the influx of hormones, there are bound to be some mood swings. And what if these periods of feeling gloomy stay with you longer than you had hoped?

Depression is more common during these times in a woman’s life than you probably think. According to recent information revealed by U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, 9% of pregnant women and 10% of new mothers experience an extended depression episode.

With evidence showing how detrimental this can be to the new baby in the mother’s life, the panel is recommending that pregnant women and new moms get depression screenings. Depression, when properly diagnosed, can be treated.

Because symptoms of depression are so common amongst new mothers, the disease is frequently undertreated. When a mother does voice her concern about her constant sad mood, doctors tend to respond that this is just typical during this time and don’t offer much more support or recommend a specialist.

So, the vicious cycle of depression just continues. Without support, these women often feel more helpless and unhappy. This only causes more negative effects in their new little family members. Specifically, babies with mothers with depression can be less likely to interact, have more sleeping problems, or more difficult to console. That’s why the panel is stressing how important it is for women before and after pregnancy to have a mental screening.

One of the biggest challenges once someone has been diagnosed with depression is the treatment. There is talk therapy and drug therapy, but finding the right treatment isn’t always easy. For pregnant or moms who are breastfeeding, drug therapy is not recommended due to the health risks. So these women are suggested to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy (AKA talk therapy) as the primarily form of treatment.

Although, this is suggested for new moms. It is also important to add this health procedure to your yearly check-up. Your mental health should be as equally important as your physical health.

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Kerri Adams

Kerri Adams

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