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Postpartum Depression: How Common?

CDC Says Teenage Moms Among Groups With High Postpartum Rates
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WebMD Health News

April 10, 2008 -- The CDC today issued its latest statistics on postpartum depression, and the figures show that certain groups of women may be at higher risk.

The CDC's report included more than 52,000 new moms in 17 states. The women, who had given birth within the past two to six months, completed a survey that included these questions:

  • Since your new baby was born, how often have you felt down, depressed, or hopeless?
  • Since your new baby was born, how often have you had little interest or little pleasure in doing things?

Responses were "never," "rarely," "sometimes," "often," or "always." Women who said "often" or "always" to either question were classified as having self-reported postpartum depression.

The prevalence of self-reported postpartum depression ranged from 11.7% in Maine to 20.4% in New Mexico.

Postpartum depression was more often reported by teenage moms, mothers with less than 12 years of education, Medicaid patients, smokers, victims of physical abuse before or during pregnancy, and women under traumatic or financial stress during pregnancy.

Having a low-birth-weight baby or a baby admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit was also tied to self-reported postpartum depression in most of the 17 states.

The postpartum depression statistics, published in the April 11 edition of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, don't separate women who became depressed after giving birth from women who were already depressed before pregnancy.

The CDC urges women to get treatment for postpartum depression for the sake of mother and baby alike.

The CDC also notes that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that doctors screen all new moms for postpartum depression four to six weeks after birth.

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