Vital Signs: Identifying Maternal Depression

We all know as mothers the joy we experience when we bring a newborn baby into this world, but it also comes with a rush of emotions. The sweet smell, the soft skin, and those tiny hands and feet. Every day they are learning and growing. It is beautiful to watch, but becoming a mother is a life-altering event that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Sometimes others get swept up in the moment of the new baby, the mother can be pushed aside and not given the attention she needs. Maternal Depression or Postpartum Depression is more common than a person may realize. Read on to learn more about Maternal or Postpartum Depression, and how we can support new moms.

This weeks’ Healthy Tip Tuesday is brought to you in partnership with Trinity Hospital Twin City.

The Center for Disease Control has great information on this topic including the prevalence and signs of someone who may be experiencing Maternal Depression.

  • One in eight women reports depression after giving birth.
  • The depression starts about 1-3 weeks after giving, birth but can occur up to a year after birth.
  • Depression can interfere with daily living skills and activities.
  • One may experience intense sadness, anxiety, and hopelessness.
  • The mother may experience a loss of interest in activities and want to withdraw from family and friends.
  • She may have thoughts of hurting herself or the baby.

These are all normal thoughts, feelings, and emotions a mother struggling with depression may experience. This is okay and needs to be normalized so the mother will feel more comfortable seeking treatment for her depression.

If you are a friend or family member here are some ways you can be a support:
  • Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of depression.
  • Encourage mothers to talk with their healthcare provider about symptoms.
  • Offer emotional support and empathy to them.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing thoughts or feelings of the world being better off without them it please make sure you have the National Suicide Prevention Hotline phone number: 800-273-8255. It is available 24/7 365 days a year.

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