Friday, September 5, 2008

New Screening Tool for Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is more common than we thought and it is often missed by doctors and even families in the chaos and changes brought about by a new baby in the house. Postpartum depression can last for months and goes beyond the hormone fluxes that most new mothers experience with changing moods and fatigue. Postpartum depression is a serious disorder that requires identification and treatment.

A new study published in Pediatrics shows a simple questionnaire is a useful screening tool for postpartum depression. The sensitivity of the questionnaire was 95% and the beauty of it is how simple it is to administer by the doctor or nurse.

Women are asked to respond to these statements:
  • I have blamed myself unnecessarily when things went wrong
  • I have felt scared or panicky for no very good reason
  • I have been anxious or worried for no good reason
This brief and simple screening tool was effective at identifying new mothers that would need followup for depression.

(I've read some articles that postpartum depression can affect dads too, but this study only dealt with mothers. It's been my experience that when mom is happy...everyone is happy)


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