While up to 80 percent of moms experience some tearfulness, mood swings, and crying shortly after the birth of a baby—often called the “baby blues”—symptoms that get worse or last longer than two weeks may indicate postpartum depression. Postpartum depression also includes symptoms such as lack of interest in pleasure or activities, physical agitation, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt and decreased concentration or inability to make decisions. Public awareness, early identification and treatment are critical to improving the clinical outcomes for moms and their families.
According to Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), 15 percent of Oklahoma moms report depressive symptoms two to six months postpartum. Similarly, across the nation, one in eight mothers reports the emergence of major depression within weeks of delivery. In coordination with its county health departments, OSDH is now offering a new screening service to identify women at risk for postpartum depression. New mothers and moms-to-be will receive education on the symptoms of depression and self-care practices that can reduce the risk and help to alleviate symptoms. When necessary, referrals will be made for mental health evaluation and treatment.
If you recognize the symptoms of postpartum depression in yourself or someone else, talk with a health care provider. For more information, visit http://iio.health.ok.gov and click on the topic “Depression After Pregnancy.”