Becoming a mother is life-changing and can be so exciting, however, for some new moms, the birth of a child can also negatively impact their mental health.
Researchers hope that by focusing on and prioritizing a mother’s mental health care during pregnancy they may be able to reduce the risk of postpartum depression or alleviate some symptoms. The study will be conducted by University of Denver psychology professors who are currently recruiting 900 women to participate. The five-year study will include mental health counseling to pregnant women as part of the prenatal care they’re receiving at Denver Hospital, a partner in the study.
Researchers aim to show that by providing access to tools such as in-person or virtual group counseling before their children are born, they can achieve better outcomes for moms after birth. Additionally, they hope to reduce the stigma women may feel about seeking help for their mental health through treatments with overall gynecological and obstetric care.
Postpartum depression is deeper than the ‘baby blues.’ Experts note that feelings of anxiousness, loneliness, and sadness can be triggered by hormones in the days after baby is born. Warning signs include uncontrollable crying, fear of being alone with baby, loss of pleasure or interest in things you once enjoyed, among others.
Additionally, health experts note that postpartum depression can affect all women regardless of how many pregnancies she’s had, age, race, socioeconomic status, marital status, etc. The American Psychological Association notes that most women do get better with treatment and that early detection and treatment are key.