Posts Tagged ‘pospartum depression’

A postpartum depression clinic

Monday, August 15th, 2011

The first postpartum depression clinic opens it doors today at a University of North Carolina hospital in Chapel Hill. It is a free-standing perinatal psychiatry unit dedicated to helping moms who suffer from the very serious condition of postpartum depression. This is a big move for supporting women and I hope it is the first of many such clinics to spread across the country.

Getting the blues for a week or so after having a baby is common. But postpartum depression (PPD) is different. It can be extremely sad, lonely, very grim and even dangerous. PPD is not something a woman can control and it is not a sign of being a bad mother. It’s a serious medical condition that needs treatment.

A woman who has postpartum depression feels sad, “down” or depressed. She also has many of the following symptoms lasting 2 weeks or longer:
• Having little interest in her usual activities or hobbies
• Feeling tired all the time
• Changes in how much or how little she wants to eat
• Gaining or losing weight
• Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
• Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
• Thinking about suicide or death
Postpartum depression doesn’t have to occur immediately after birth. It can begin at any time within many months after delivery. It can seriously threaten both the woman and her baby. Since the mother is seriously ill, she may not be able to care for her baby as she would if she were well. The disease may make it hard for the mother to breastfeed or bond with her baby. For these reasons, postpartum depression is a threat to newborns.

About 1 out of every 8 women has postpartum depression after delivery. It is the most common complication among women who have just had a baby and it amazes me that it has taken so long for the medical community to seriously address it. Go UNC!  Unlike many other hospitals who treat women with PPD alongside schizophrenics and addicts, the UNC clinic understands PPD and these women’s special needs. There are breast pumps and comfortable rocking chairs, individual and family therapy sessions. The mother’s sleep times are protected and extremely important for recovery. While babies will not be allowed to spend the night they will have extended visiting hours so routines can be established even while Mom is hospitalized.  You can read more about the clinic here.

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, talk to your health care provider. If necessary, your provider can refer you to a mental health professional. Don’t be shy or embarrassed. Get the help you need and deserve.