More than blue
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I agree with Sean Hamill's March 14 article "Study Finds Depression Affects About 1 in 7 New Moms" about University of Pittsburgh researchers' finding. Postpartum depression affects approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of all women after childbirth. Without proper screening and diagnosis, undue maternal and childhood distress and emotional, behavioral and developmental problems occur. It is imperative that early screening is done.
Diagnosing postpartum depression is difficult and complex, as is distinguishing it from "baby blues" and other medical conditions that cause depressive or anxiety symptoms. For proper diagnosis and treatment we need clinical guidelines set for postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis; formal and continued education for all physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants; mandatory screening for all women during pregnancy and postpartum; and the raising awareness of the affliction.
As a registered nurse, a student in graduate school and a family nurse practitioner, I have seen many women who have been affected by postpartum depression and how they "fell through the cracks" of our health care system. That needs to change.
First Published March 21, 2013 12:00 am