How is postpartum commonly treated? Are there any support groups or other resources in this area?"
First, congratulations on having a new baby! This is a wonderful but stressful time in your life. Often feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious can be normal for a new mother. But how do you know if you actually have postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression typically begins 1 to 3 months after the delivery of your baby. However, many women are not diagnosed until later than this.
Feelings of sadness, excessive guilt, increased worrying, and fearfulness are common in postpartum depression. Decreased sleep, changes in your appetite and thoughts of suicide and harming your baby are more severe signs of depression. If you have any of these signs, seek out a healthcare provider for help.
Who should you call? Screening can be done by your OB/GYN or your baby's pediatrician. In fact, a specific screen tool called the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale can be used to assess a mother at risk. If this was not done at a post-delivery visit or you feel your symptoms are worsening, it can be given at any time.
Treatments of postpartum depression vary based on the mother's breastfeeding status and comfort with medications. Typically, a combination of talking therapies and medications are successful in treating it. This can be started by your OB/GYN or a referral may be made to a provider who specializes in treating postpartum depression.
Locally there are several support systems for you.
Horizon Health Services are located in the Piver Center at Sisters of Charity Hospital. This center is specially designed for all women's health needs, including mental health.
The Mental Health Association of Erie County is a good start to find a mental health provider closest to home for you.
Finally, the Prenatal-Perinatal Network can provide group information as well as referrals to help you take excellent care of your newborn.
Remember: you are not alone in caring for your child. If you feel you have depression, please seek out help.
– Dr. Lynn-Marie Aronica
Dr. Lynn-Marie Aronica is board certified in OB/GYN. She sees patients at her office at the Mercy OB/GYN Center in Buffalo. Her interests include family-centered obstetrics and high-risk obstetrics.
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