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Pregnant and Postpartum Depression Screening

Pregnant and Postpartum Depression Screening

Spurred by a U.S. Preventive Services’ Task Force Panel’s January 26, 2016 report that, “Women Should Be Screened During and After Pregnancy for Depression,” networks and media across the country jumped on the bandwagon reporting on the signs, symptoms, and treatment of depression in pregnant and postpartum women. The Panel’s first-time recommendation for depression screening in pregnant and postpartum women, “comes in the wake of new evidence that maternal mental illness is more common than previously thought; that many cases of what has been called postpartum depression actually start during pregnancy and left untreated can be detrimental to the well-being of children”.

Drawing attention to a serious mental disorder is great, however, relying solely on media, news reporters, and the internet can be harmful. The therapists and counselors of Improving Lives Counseling Services will diagnosis symptoms, make recommendations, and develop safe, effective treatment plans – specific to each person’s needs. Lifestyle, environment, work-life, home-life, and medical history must be considered in the diagnosis and treatment of depression as well as related behavioral disorders.

Symptoms can vary: economics, finances, culture, access to healthcare, diet, nutrition, and state of mind affect behavioral disorders. The knowledge that a woman is pregnant can present a range of emotions. Though the rewards of motherhood are many, in today’s society, pregnancy is not always wanted or expected, and in some women, not known until well into the gestation period.

Self-diagnosis, online psychological tests and quizzes, or the use of non-professional trained personnel may help you determine if you need to see a mental health professional – yet limitations in the ability to identify depression or the probabilistic nature of its symptoms make a licensed mental health professional a must. Adolescent and teen pregnancy and postpartum depression is very different from that of an adult woman. An adult woman who is trying to get pregnant experiences something very different from the adult woman who was avoiding pregnancy. Both may experience postpartum depression – dissimilar symptoms, in dissimilar ways.

Pregnancy, postpartum pregnancy, hormonal changes, and caring for a new-born are life-changing events. Combined with preconceptions, self-talk, fluctuating self-esteem and 3:00 a.m. feedings, the entire household (and extended family) is equally affected. As of 2014, ten states have passed laws requiring postpartum depression screening for all women before they leave the hospital and during pediatrician visits. In 2013, the Oklahoma County Health Department begin providing a screening protocol to identify women at risk for postpartum depression.

Don’t allow the stigma surrounding mental health prevent you from living the life you deserve to live. Whether it’s your first pregnancy or your fifth, every pregnancy is unique. Pregnancy and postpartum depression screening is essential to prenatal care. Improving Lives Counseling Services offers individual, family, and group counseling sessions at six locations across Tulsa and throughout the surrounding areas. Failure to diagnosis and treat depression can have a devastating, lifelong effect on the mother, the family, and the child. Call us.