Moms Help Moms Duck Postpartum Depression
Peer Phone Calls Prevent Postpartum Depression in at-Risk Mothers
Postpartum Depression: More Than Baby Blues continued...
"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.
"The health visitors in our study were trained in psychotherapy techniques,"
Morrell tells WebMD. "Women cared for by the health visitors who received the
training had fewer symptoms
of depression when their babies were 6 months of age. That persisted to age
The nurses were trained either in cognitive-behavioral or person-centered
psychotherapy techniques. Each approach was equally helpful.
Dennis says the Morrell study shows how important it is to identify women
who suffer postpartum depression.
"A lot of this depression still goes unrecognized and untreated. Why is
that?" she asks.
The Dennis and Morrell studies appear in the Jan. 16 online first edition of
the journal BMJ.