Moms Help Moms Duck Postpartum Depression
Peer Phone Calls Prevent Postpartum Depression in at-Risk Mothers
WebMD News Archive
Postpartum Depression: More Than Baby Blues
It's very common for women to have the baby
blues in the first days after giving
birth, says Diane Wulfsohn, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Atlanta's
Northside Hospital. But those with significant depressive symptoms two weeks
after delivery are at risk of postpartum depression.
"Depression in the past, prior postpartum depression, complicated pregnancy, and life difficulties or stress are red flags for
postpartum depression," Wulfsohn says. "And postpartum depression is an
umbrella term. It describes several mood reactions women can experience at this
critical time of huge hormonal shifts."
Wulfsohn agrees with Dennis that in the U.S., there's no formal outreach
system for identifying women who suffer postpartum depression. The stress is on
making families aware of the symptoms and of making sure they know whom to call
"There is no formal outreach, but in childbirth classes parents-to-be are
told about these kinds of reactions," Wulfsohn says. "A lot of times a woman
experiencing postpartum depression doesn't know what is going on, but the
partner says, 'Oh, this is what they were talking about,' and calls me."
Dennis notes that many mothers are afraid to talk about their depression.
They fear their children will be taken way and that they will be stigmatized as
mentally ill. And even if they do want help, they may not have the time or
resources to seek out professional care on their own.
That's where prenatal care plays a role, Wulfsohn says.
"One of the key things is awareness and education, and helping people feel
postpartum depression is not a sign of weakness, and they are not the only ones
who suffer it," she says. "That is probably the value of the Dennis program:
women helping other women."
In-Home Therapy From Nurses Helps Postpartum Depression
Home care from nurses given brief psychotherapy training helps women
overcome postpartum depression, a British study shows.
In the U.K., nurses called "health visitors" make regular calls on families
before and long after a child is born. Even so, many women still suffer
Training health visitors in "psychologically informed approaches for
depression" helps these women overcome depression, find C. Jane Morrell, PhD,
of the University of Huddersfield, England, and colleagues.