AAP wants more doctors to screen for postpartum depression

AAP wants more doctors to screen for postpartum depression

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Don't be surprised if your doctor asks you about depressive symptoms during and after your pregnancy. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging practitioners to regularly screen all women for postpartum depression (PPD), which the organization now refers to as perinatal depression because it can affect women both during pregnancy and after the baby is born.

You can expect to be screened for depression at least once during your pregnancy, and at your child's 1-, 2-, 4- and 6-month well-child visits, if your doctor is following AAP guidance. Your partner may also be asked about depressive symptoms, since fathers can experience perinatal depression too.

Doctors should be able to refer you (or your partner) to treatment and provide support if you do screen positive for PPD.

It's not the first time the AAP and other health organizations have recommended postpartum depression screenings as part of routine care. But it's taken a while for the medical community to get on board. While as many as 1 in 5 women may suffer from PPD, only about half get diagnosed and receive treatment, according to the latest report.

Part of the problem is that some providers haven't been trained to do screenings, or until recently couldn't get reimbursed for doing them, the report said. Another challenge is stigma, which can lead parents to feel embarrassed about, or worried about the potential repercussions of, admitting to mental health issues.

Identifying and treating PPD early is important, because it can impact your health and your baby's well-being. Studies show postpartum depression can make it harder for you to connect and interact with your child, and can harm babies' development.

Symptoms of PPD

Symptoms of PPD can include:

  • extreme sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • crying all the time
  • loss of interest in your usual activities
  • loss of appetite
  • trouble sleeping
  • worrying excessively about your baby
  • being irritable or angry
  • being uninterested in your baby, or unable to care for her
  • difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • overwhelming feelings of worthlessness or overpowering guilt
  • difficulty concentrating or making decisions

Integral to the AAP's mission is demystifying PPD: All moms should know that PPD happens to many women, it's not your fault, and experiencing PPD does not mean you are a "bad" mother. For more information check out BabyCenter's resource page on postpartum depression, and hear from other moms who've grappled with the condition.

our site News & Analysis is an assessment of recent news designed to cut through the hype and get you what you need to know.

Watch the video: How To Deal With Postpartum Depression. Birth Days. Real Families with Foxy Games (June 2022).


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