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Post-Partum Depression

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Most all of you know that I am an OB Nurse, have been for years--often working with high risk women. But this is something that affects--or can affect--every woman who gives birth. I know that most folks on this board, too, are already battling depression or other psych. diseases. The study I am going to tell you about referrs to women who have NOT been diagnosed with psych problems--BUT--I need you to talk to your friends who are pregnant and pass this on.

In a study of over 600 women who had just given birth, none of whom had ever had any emotional or psychiatric problems or diseases, doctors found that these women were SEVEN TIMES more likely than women who had NOT been pregnant and given birth to develop SEVERE psychiatric disorders. We are NOT talking "baby blues"--we are talking about severe depression, bipolar disorder,and schizophrenia and other schizo-affective disorders. These diseases became apparent in the 10th -19th day following birth.

The worst part is that most of these women go undiagnosed, and therefore untreated, sometimes for years, because of the stigma attached. When you have a baby you are supposed to be HAPPY, and many doctors and family members dismiss a woman's report that "something's wrong with me." One of the recommendations in this study was that every post-partum woman be screened for signs of these diseases. It was not mentioned, but I am assuming that the study was not limited to women having their first baby, so if you didn't have problems the first time, you are not "immune" if you get pregnant again.

There are effective safe medications to treat these diseases, but they often take several weeks to work. During that time, both the woman and her child are at HIGH risk, and in many cases the woman needs to be hospitalized.

Please, each of you--pass this information on to your friends. There is nothing "un-natural" about NOT feeling all gooey happy following a birth, and each woman needs to be aware of the dangers of these post-partum diseases.

All of us have faced our problems and our diseases, and I know we would not wish any of the problems we face on anyone.

In addition, my own assumption is that if you are already battling depression, bipolar, etc, you are at even higher risk of your disease becomming worse--IF you are not properly treated during your pregnancy and after you have the baby. PLEASE-- be sure that your OB and your pdoc work together during your pregnancy.

I am NOT a doc, but I care deeply about you guys, and I have worked with so many women like US. Talk to your OB, and if you don't get the answers you want, CHANGE DOCS. You need and must have an OB who will understand and work with your pdoc.

Love to you all--


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