Postpartum depression touches all of us. Either you’re a new mom who has experienced it yourself, or you know of someone else who has had postpartum depression. In fact, our studies show that 50% of men and women over the age of 18 personally know someone who has struggled with depression after giving birth.
But – it’s not just about postpartum depression.
That surprises most people.
Postpartum depression frightens many pregnant women and new mothers. The media have spread images about women who, out of desperation, have harmed their children and themselves. Pregnant women hear and read about postpartum depression. They talk to their friends. They wonder if they’ll be next.
But – what if there was something that we could do much sooner? What if there was something we could do BEFORE a woman had her baby?
Depression and Anxiety in Pregnancy
The most recent research on anxiety and depression in pregnancy shows some striking findings. Much of this research has not yet made it into the most popular books on pregnancy, or prenatal classes, or even into nurses’ and doctors’ discussions about health in pregnancy.
- Most people don’t realize…. that anxiety and depression in pregnancy are AS COMMON as they are in new mothers.
- Most people don’t realize….that women who struggle with anxiety or depression in pregnancy are much more likely to experience postpartum depression or anxiety.
- Most people don’t realize…that for every 3 women who experience anxiety and depression in pregnancy, one woman will still be struggling with these symptoms when her child goes to Kindergarten.
Caring for Mental Health Earlier. Better.
These facts aren’t meant to be frightening. But, they are alarming.
They point to the fact that we need to be helping pregnant women and their families. Earlier. Better.
Rather than a focus ONLY on physical health, we also need to help pregnant women to care for their mental health.
Rather than a focus ONLY on postpartum depression, we need to be doing something much earlier to help women while they are pregnant.
Recent research from Australia shows that pregnant women who receive help for depression in pregnancy are less likely to develop postpartum depression AND their infants’ development is better at 9 months compared to women who needed help but did not get it.
There is hope!
Let’s spread the word. If you are feeling a lot of stress or are concerned that you may have anxiety or depression, please let your family doctor, obstetrician, midwife or nurse know. Get help early. If you have a pregnant friend or family member who is struggling (and our research shows that she is MUCH MORE LIKELY to tell you before her doctor…) PLEASE encourage her to speak to her doctor and get help.
Let’s spread the word!
I would love to hear your comments and experiences. Please feel free to share.