The majority of doctors in North Carolina do not probe for signs of postpartum depression in new mothers, according to a survey conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Of the 228 physicians responding to the survey who said they had seen women for postpartum visits in the previous three months, 79 percent said they were unlikely to formally screen the patients for depression. An estimated 13 percent of new mothers are affected by postpartum depression.
“We believe that it is very important that physicians work some type of depression screening into postpartum visits,” said Betsy Sleath, lead author of the study and a professor in UNC’s School of Pharmacy.
“And perhaps even more important, women shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to raise this issue with their doctor. We’re expected by society to be happy when we have a child so sometimes it’s hard to talk about the fact that women feel sad, or that it’s hard being a new mother,” Sleath said.
The Patient Health Questionnaire and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale are formal tools physicians and others can use to determine a woman’s risk of postpartum depression. But Dr. Bradley Gaynes, one of the study’s co-authors and a psychiatrist with UNC Health Care, said that checking for signs of depression doesn’t require a formal screen, it could be as simple as asking about common symptoms, including extreme fatigue, loss of pleasure in daily life, sleeplessness, sadness, tearfulness, anxiety, hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, irritability, appetite change and poor concentration..
“We recognize that physicians must cope with many demands on their time,” Gaynes said. “But depression is one of the most common postpartum complications, and a postpartum depression needs to be identified before it can be treated. We encourage clinicians to always check for signs of depression during postpartum visits. These questions represent the core symptoms of a major depressive disorder.”
According to the study, only 43 percent of physicians said they were almost certain to ask whether a woman felt down, depressed or hopeless; only 27 percent said they were almost certain to ask about a woman’s interest in her usual activities.
“Depression during the perinatal period can have devastating consequences, not only for the women experiencing it but also for the women’s children and family. It’s a disease that affects more than just the new mother,” Gaynes said.
Postpartum depression is thought to be caused by changes in hormone levels that occur after pregnancy, Gaynes said. Every woman has a risk of postpartum depression during the first several months after childbirth, miscarriage or stillbirth. A woman is at greater risk if she has a history of depression; has poor support from her partner, family or friends; or is under significant additional stress, he says.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- A Dimuon Particle At 30 GeV In ALEPH ??
- President Obama, Why Humans On Mars Right Now Are Bad For Science
- EPA Again Delays Report On Safety Of Glyphosate
- IPhone Lab Detects Cancer, May Lead To Instant Diagnosis
- Following Speech In Background Noise - The Problem May Not Be Your Ears
- Nitrate-Reducing Microbes Linked To Migraine Headaches
- Physics Outreach With Music
- "Oh, a colloquial term. Weird, off center, not normal. I.e. it is not normal behaviour. It indicates..."
- "Even a such a numbskull as myself, I thought this from the beginning of the idea. If land is too..."
- "That brings a big smile to my face!..."
- "This sounds very much like the boy-crying-wolf story. If the members of the Aleph experiment have..."
- "they are just closet sadists. So now ur a troll as well then :| Fantastic...."
- Improved 'Screen Time' Guidelines Could Make Parents & Kids Happier
- Dr. Jamie Wells Named One Of America's Top Pediatricians
- Why Did EPA Delay Its Glyphosate Safety Report?
- Scientists Should Fight Postmodern Public Values
- Stupid Health Scare For Hep C Drugs
- Our Lack of Awareness about Food Consumption & Waste