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

e, feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt and decreased concentration or ability to make decisions.

The most severe, and also most rare, perinatal mental health disorder is known as postpartum psychosis. Symptoms typically occur within two weeks of childbirth and can include hallucinations or delusions, confusion, poor judgment and impulsiveness. There are high rates of suicide and infanticide associated with postpartum psychosis. Women who suffer from bipolar disorder are at increased risk.

"Treating postpartum depression requires a careful diagnosis, which starts with clear communication between patient and doctor," says Gollan. Use of the patient health questionnaire in regular pre and postnatal care will help doctors identify patients experiencing some form of postpartum depression. We also hope it will help women who experience symptoms understand the prevalence of postpartum depression so they can realize they are not alone and acknowledging their feelings in order to receive treatment."

When left untreated, depression can lead to obstetric complications such as premature birth and low birth weight. In addition, postpartum concerns can also occur, including disturbed mother-infant bonding, failure to thrive and infant irritability.

"There is a serious need for more emphasis and education surrounding postpartum depression," says Borders. "We believe the implementation of these tools will help address this matter and enhance care for both mother and baby."

Women who experience symptoms associated with postpartum depression should talk with their doctor and be proactive about their health and the health of their baby. Prentice Women's Hospital offers a full range of services to help, including comprehensive behavioral evaluations, one-on-one counseling, support groups for new moms and a full health information library that is open to the public. For mo
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SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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