Monday, June 3, 2019

Maternal Mental Health: Where Family Well-being Begins

Editor's Note: The following podcast episode, featuring interviews with Kaitlyn Doerge of Texas Pediatric Society  (a former Hogg Foundation Policy Fellow) and Adriana Kohler of Texans Care for Children, is part of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health's podcast series Into the Fold: Issues on Mental Health.  They describe recent legislation, best practices, and resources for women to care for themselves and their children. The episode was previously published on the foundation's website.

As the Texas Medical Association's Healthy Vision 2025 campaign states, postpartum depression is not the "baby blues" that 50 to 60 percent of mothers experience in the first few months after delivering a baby. As many as one in seven new mothers acquire the serious psychiatric disorder known as postpartum depression. It's the tipping point where the physical, emotional, hormonal, and psychological changes surrounding pregnancy and birth gang up to create a dangerous mental illness in the mother.

"It is so overwhelming to the individual with the multitude of changes going on in every bit of their being that you've got to watch them," Eugene Hunt, MD, Dallas obstetrician-gynecologist, said. "We must address every lady who has a baby, when we're discharging them from the hospital, we better talk about postpartum depression. It's recognized. This is real. And you can save lives when it's talked about properly."

The Office on Women's Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises new mothers to contact their doctor, nurse, midwife, or pediatrician if symptoms of depression begin within one year of delivery and last more than two weeks, tasks are difficult to complete.

For more information on postpartum depression, click here.

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