CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Every year in the United States, 900,000 women suffer from postpartum depression. PPD is the most common pregnancy complication, even higher than gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, which is serious high blood pressure. Now, researchers have identified moms at highest risk for developing PPD.
It’s supposed to be an amazing time – the first days and weeks of snuggling a newborn. But sometimes, women feel sad, and for some, those feelings linger. Health experts say postpartum depression is dangerous, not only for the mom’s health, but for the baby’s as well.
“Postpartum depression has been shown to have effects on the baby’s IQ and language development,” explains Jennifer Payne, MD, psychiatrist at UVA.
Women with postpartum depression are 20 percent more likely to die by suicide.
Dr. Payne says, “Treating mom for postpartum depression is incredibly important to minimize those risks.”
Dr. Payne and her colleagues analyzed the responses of one million new moms answering a health survey after childbirth.
“We found pretty definitively that twin pregnancies have a higher rate of postpartum depressive symptoms,” Dr. Payne mentions.
In fact, the researchers say women over 40 with twin pregnancies had the highest risk of developing PPD. Moms who were younger than 25, and moms pregnant for the first time also had a higher rate of depressive symptoms.
Dr. Payne says if doctors know a woman may be at higher risk, they can screen for the condition, and new moms can be aware of the signs so they can seek help. Dr. Payne also says doctors routinely screen about 99 percent of all pregnant women for gestational diabetes, but only about 40 percent of pregnant women are screened for PPD.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION: WHICH MOMS ARE MOST AT RISK?
REPORT: MB #5087
BACKGROUND: Some new mothers experience a brief episode of the baby blues and feel stressed, sad, anxious, lonely, or moody following their baby’s birth. These feelings are usually temporary and easily soothed by understanding parents, supportive partners, and devoted friends, but for some mothers, childbirth causes a much more severe mood disorder. Researchers believe that fluctuating hormones cause mood-regulating brain chemicals to go awry, which can cause the condition known as postpartum depression or postpartum mood disorder. The disorder affects one in every 8 to 10 women within one year or more after the birth of a newborn and can have a tremendous impact on well-being and her ability to bond with and care for the baby. Postpartum depression can affect any woman, regardless of her culture, age, race, or economic background.
DIAGNOSING: A doctor will usually talk with a mother experiencing postpartum depression about their feelings, thoughts, and mental health to distinguish between a short-term case of postpartum baby blues and a more severe form of depression. When evaluating mothers for postpartum depression doctors may do a depression screening that may include having you fill out a questionnaire, order blood tests to determine whether an underactive thyroid is contributing to your signs and symptoms, and/or order other tests, if warranted, to rule out other causes for your symptoms. Treatment and recovery time vary, depending on the severity of your depression and your individual needs. If there is an underactive thyroid or an underlying illness, your doctor may treat those conditions or refer you to the appropriate specialist or may also refer you to a mental health professional.
NEW STUDY: The Reproductive Psychiatry Research Program at the UVA School of Medicine researched and determined the highest risk moms for postpartum depression. The researchers analyzed responses from more than one million new mothers to the “After Childbirth Survey” on the Flo app, which helps women track their period and menstrual cycle. By age group, the percentage of women self-reporting postpartum depression symptoms was highest among 18 to 24-year-olds, at 10 percent, while the rate of postpartum depression steadily declined by increasing age, dropping to under seven percent for 35 to 39-year-olds. Across all age groups, postpartum depression was significantly lower among women who had previously had children compared with first-time moms. The researchers found no significant difference in the rates of postpartum depression between mothers of boys or girls. (Source: https://newsroom.uvahealth.com/2022/02/22/new-study-identifies-moms-highest-risk-postpartum-depression/)
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