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Prentice Women's Hospital Launches New Initiative to Better Identify and Address Postpartum Depression
Date:9/9/2009

One in eight new moms experience postpartum major depressive disorder

CHICAGO, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Up to 80 percent of women experience depressive symptoms postpartum, with one in eight reporting the emergence of major depression within weeks of delivery. Caused by multiple factors, including stress and hormone changes in the body, postpartum depression ranges from a minor presentation, known as postpartum blues, to major depression and in rare circumstances, the most severe form, postpartum psychosis. To better identify and address postpartum depression, Prentice Women's Hospital has implemented a new protocol to standardize screening and education of depression for patients and their families.

"Postpartum depression is under-recognized and under-treated," says Jacqueline Gollan, PhD, clinical psychologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation Women's Behavioral Health Services Program. "By establishing a clinical protocol to screen all obstetric patients for depression, we can better detect the emergence of mood disorders, offer treatment and improve the clinical outcomes of these patients."

Experts from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences developed a partnership to spearhead this effort, which included the adoption of a reliable patient health questionnaire to be used by all physicians who provide pre and postnatal care at Prentice. The group also provided extensive staff education to address how and when to screen women for mental health disorders during prenatal and postnatal care, and how to interpret and follow up on the screening results. As part of the new evidenced based, standardized protocol, expectant mothers are screened for depressive symptoms at the first prenatal visit, again in the third trimester (28-32 weeks), and again at the postnatal
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SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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