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

visit (6-8 weeks after childbirth) using the patient health questionnaire.

"For many, pregnancy and childbirth is a wonderful time full of joy, however it is also a time when our bodies change rapidly, hormones rage and emotions run high," says Ann Borders, MD, maternal fetal medicine specialist at Northwestern Memorial's Prentice Women's Hospital. "It's important for women to know that postpartum depression is not something they can control and it's not their fault. It is however something that can be addressed. Through better communication, we can help more women receive the treatment they need, as well as educate others to break down societal stigmas and improve patient care," adds Borders.

Postpartum depression can manifest in several ways and can range in severity. The most common form is known as postpartum blues, a mild and temporary condition that affects up to 80 percent of new mothers. Postpartum blues typically strike soon after pregnancy, peaking around day five and normally resolve on their own within ten days of delivery. Symptoms include tearfulness, irritability, loss of appetite, feelings of anxiety or being overwhelmed, low energy and insomnia. All too often, women succumb to depression without realizing that they are struggling with a medical condition.

Postpartum depression, characterized as major depression that typically occurs within four weeks of delivery, however can present months later and affects an estimated one out of every eight new mothers (12-15 percent of women). While major depression can strike anyone, studies show a higher level of occurrence among mothers who are young, have a low-socioeconomic status or lack social support. Women with a previous history of mood disorders are also at greater risk for postpartum depression - as high as a 25 to 40 percent chance. Symptoms can include depressed mood, lack of interest in pleasure or activities, physical agitation, fatigu
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SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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