Getting Beyond Baby Blues: The Importance of Screening for Postpartum Depression

In January, when attention focused on the need for postpartum depression screening because of a recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of physicians and epidemiologists that develops recommendations for clinical preventive services, I was both relieved and concerned. As a women’s health advocate and educator I worried that screening could contribute to further pathologizing women’s experiences, especially when they are connected to their reproductive lives. I also feared that Big Pharma wanted to cash in, and that fetal effects from antidepressant medication might be unduly minimized. I was concerned too about medication transmission via breastfeeding. At the same time, I know from personal experience as well as my work in women’s health that postpartum depression (PPD) is real, and serious. It differs from the so-called “baby blues” that may occur a few days after birth when a new mother’s hormones are adjusting and she feels tired, emotional and overwhelmed. It’s an important health concern that affects mothers, babies and families and it shouldn’t be ignored. The Center for Women’s Mental Health at Massachusetts General Hospital was among other health care institutions that welcomed the screening recommendation. Many providers recognize PPD as a serious medical condition that untreated can last for long periods and make functioning difficult. Pregnancy-related depression, they po...
Source: Disruptive Women in Health Care - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Childbirth Women's Health Postpartum depression United States Preventive Services Task Force Source Type: blogs

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