The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) can be used as a self-test for depression during and after pregnancy. If you think you might have depression or are suffering from a maternal mental health illness, take this simple test and use the scoring system indicated below.
If you believe you may be experiencing depression or anxiety, know: You are not alone. PPD affects up to 20% of new mothers anytime in the first year after delivery.
You are not to blame. PPD can affect any new mother regardless of age, race, income, education and/or marital status.
You can feel better with help. Maternal Mental Health disorders can be treated with social support, self-help techniques, counseling and medication when necessary.
Where to go for help
Some OBGYNs are very well-versed in maternal mental health and are the ideal coordinator of your care, however some others are not as familiar with these disorders. Many therapists specialize in maternal mental health disorders and can assist in helping you find a doctor to help determine if medications may be recommended. If you aren’t sure where to start or look you may want to start by contacting Postpartum Support International.
Postpartum Support International (PSI) is the world’s leading organization in advocating, educating, and providing support for women experiencing postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders. PSI volunteers offer support, encouragement, information, and local resources. PSI’s website includes state-by-state listings of volunteers who provide one-on-one support (via telephone and email) and group support. www.postpartum.net
A woman with postpartum depression may find relief and support in joining new mother’s groups to discuss challenges and feelings about caring for an infant. Australian researchers found that among new moms who’d been diagnosed with depression, those who completed a 12-week stroller-walking class showed fewer symptoms than those in a mom-baby play group that didn’t involve exercise. The scientists concluded that gaining fitness through the sociability of stroller walking may be even more effective treatment for depression than just joining a sedentary new mother support group. For stroller walking classes in your area visit www.strollerstrides.com
Support for Moms
To find area volunteers through the Postpartum Support International Network for the United States you can visit HERE. Volunteers will support and help find local providers.
There are also virtual support groups. To find an upcoming virtual support group click HERE.