Doctors Notes:

Postpartum Depression

Kate Davis

We will be starting up our blog series and will hope to post every month, so check back monthly for new topics.  If you have a topic you would like us to discuss on our blog feel free to let our front desk know.

This month I wanted to touch base about a new screening you will be seeing at well child visits for your 2, 4 or 6 month old child.  We have started routinely giving the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen (EPDS) to moms at these visits based on recommendations for screening from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

Postpartum Depression (PPD) and anxiety is a common complication after giving birth, and can sometimes even start during pregnancy.  Studies show that as many as 1 in 5 mothers experience PPD in the first year after birth.  Mothers with PPD may have difficulty bonding with their child.  Children whose mothers experience PPD are more likely to have problems with their physical, mental and emotional development.  If PPD goes untreated it can develop into a long term depressive disorder for the mother, which will also have a negative impact on a child.  Studies have shown that up to half of Postpartum Depression cases may go undiagnosed without proper screening.

The Edinburgh tool we are using should take less than 5 minutes to fill out and will help us better identify mom’s that may be suffering from Postpartum Depression.  We have been working with local agencies and our Care Managers to develop resources so that we can help if we do find mom’s that are struggling.  We encourage you to talk openly to any of our providers if you are feeling overwhelmed caring for your child, even if you didn’t fill out a screening form at your visit that day.

Although PPD is thought of mostly as a complication for mother’s, some data shows that up to 4%  (1 in 25) of father’s experience depression in the first year after their child’s birth.  Although we are currently not formally screening dad’s at visits, we have resources available for our dad’s too, just ask your provider.

If you want more information, ask your provider at your next visit, or you can check these online resources.