What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder that occurs in women who have just given birth. It affects mothers emotionally and can cause difficulty bonding with their newborns. PPD usually occurs within the first six weeks after childbirth but can emerge up to one year after birth.
Why Screen for Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression can have lasting effects on the mother and baby’s emotional development. Postpartum depression can contribute to a decrease in the mother’s ability to form a secure bond with the baby. This can affect the baby’s cognitive and emotional development in the future. It is important to screen for postpartum depression in order to catch it early on, and ensure the mother receives the proper care and support.
When Should a Postpartum Depression Screening Occur?
Postpartum depression screenings should occur at regular intervals during the postpartum period. The World Health Organization recommends screening at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months after delivery. It is important to screen as soon as possible after birth in order to catch the onset of PPD early.
Types of Postpartum Depression Screening
There are various types of postpartum depression screenings, including formal structured interviews, brief self-administered surveys, and questionnaires. Structured interviews, when used for postpartum depression screenings, help the doctor gain further background information and assess the individual more thoroughly. Self-administered surveys are usually short questionnaires about the individual’s mood and feelings. Questionnaires are a useful tool for screening a large number of people at once.
Risks and Preparation for Postpartum Depression Screening
A postpartum depression screening is low-risk, and no preparation is necessary. It is important to note, however, that the individual being screened should be aware of what PPD is and understand the importance of the screening. Being informed and engaged in the screening process can make it as comfortable as possible.
When to Seek Help for Postpartum Depression
It is important to seek professional help if you are struggling with postpartum depression (PPD). Women with PPD may experience emotional instability, increased or decreased sleep, lack of appetite, difficulty bonding with the baby, or thoughts of harming themselves or their baby. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help. Treatment options include counseling, support groups, and medication.