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More Babies for CAS

July 9, 2005 permalink

This article suggests using post-partum depression as a pretext for screening all mothers (and babies) upon giving birth. Note that in social worker jargon, "support" means persons giving orders. Dr Dolores A Sicheri found the article.



After-birth support may prevent postpartum depression

Providing professional support specifically tailored to a woman after she brings home her new baby may be the best way to prevent postpartum depression, research suggests.

An analysis of 15 international studies by the University of Toronto shows strategies before birth, including pre-natal classes targeting postpartum depression, appear to be ineffective in preventing the disorder.

"Mothers are busy and they often do not attend these pre-natal classes, so they weren't receiving a sufficient dosage of the intervention," researcher Cindy-Lee Dennis of the faculty of nursing said this week.

What she did find is that support provided by a health professional — for instance, a public health nurse or midwife — may be able to prevent postpartum depression if it is geared to the individual woman and based on her specific needs.

That could mean a mom who is having marital difficulties after the birth of her baby being referred for family counselling or a low-income mother getting steered towards financial assistance, Dennis said.

More than one in 10 women experience depression after giving birth, ranging from mild baby blues to a severe form of the illness that in rare cases can include psychosis.

But most women are reluctant to seek help, Dennis said. "There's a stigma attached to being depressed in the postpartum period because it's supposed to be a happy time."

The reason pre-natal measures don't seem to work is because it's virtually impossible to predict which women will develop postpartum depression, although those at greatest risk are women of low socioeconomic status, those with relationship difficulties, a past history of psychiatric problems or pre-natal depression and anxiety.

Dennis. advises new moms be assessed by a health professional during the first four weeks after birth and referred for treatment if needed.

Source: Toronto Star