How to improve visibility for new parents

Pregnant woman talking with her care providerRecently, she contacted a nurse practitioner at a local pediatric office. The practice sought to start screening mothers of infants with postpartum depression and asked for some understanding of what is the best practice in monitoring the care of women who are considering postpartum depression.

As someone who is very passionate about making people aware of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, I am excited to hear that another group of pediatricians has recognized the valuable role they can play in examining women after childbirth,

Here, I share my tips, along with some valuable information, in the hope of spreading awareness and inspiring other professionals to participate in the effort to better promote and support women with PMADs.

The importance of detection for PMADs

PMAD occurs in 1 in 5 women during pregnancy and 1 in 7 women after childbirth. More than 86% of women with PMADs may not be diagnosed. These statistics indicate how vital it is for society to be better equipped to understand these issues and, ultimately, to identify and provide assistance to affected families.

More than 86% of women with PMADs may not be diagnosed.

I have been a mental health professional for over a decade. however, prior to my own experience and specialized training in perinatal mental health, I did not realize that postnatal diagnoses included more than depression and postpartum psychosis. Most medical and mental health education involves very little training in perinatal mental health. Thus, many providers are not well informed about these diagnoses and may not understand the importance of examining and treating them.

But postpartum issues are common, and it is critical for providers to better understand and understand that women can struggle with symptoms that are not just adaptation to the stress and novelty of an extended family. All professionals working with new parents should have these issues on their radar and be equipped to point families in the right direction for help.

What is the current template for PMAD viewing?

New mothers are usually screened for postpartum depression by their OBGYNs during their six-month postpartum appointment. (A voice out to all OBGYNs who usually examine their patients!) The problem is that a six-week postpartum visit is sometimes the only time a woman is examined and OBGYNs can lose the entire population of women whose symptoms develop after a six-week period. (Like my case, when I started to deal with postpartum anxiety about 7 to 10 weeks.)

Pediatricians and lactation consultants are particularly in a unique position to detect perinatal mood disorders over an extended period of time, as they usually see women more frequently due to frequent newborn appointments during their first year of childbirth. Pediatric practices that understand the importance of eye control often manage the Edinburgh Depression Clinic during the newborns' monthly, quarterly and half-yearly appointments.

Edinburgh is one of the most widely used measures to quickly screen young mums. It's a nice first step. However, it has some drawbacks. It mainly checks for postpartum depression, but fails to evaluate for certain symptoms related to postpartum anxiety, OCD, PTSD, bipolar and psychosis. In addition, it is very easy for women to lie or under-represent their symptoms, possibly fearing being considered inappropriate mothers.

How can visibility for PMADs be improved?

I knew I felt when I finished my Edinburgh degree at my child's pediatrician's office. However, I was not depressed. I was happy, I was able to laugh, I enjoyed life. But I was scattered, often confused by simple decisions, and obsessed with stupid things. It didn't seem to me initially that what I was experiencing was a subsequent disorder. Because Edinburgh's questions contained none of my symptoms, it really made me think: "I have to struggle with the adaptation and challenges of two kids over one."

Given Edinburgh's shortcomings, it is important for providers to also verbally assess how parents are doing and to be aware of the various symptoms and problems that may arise. I encourage nurses and doctors to ask parents directly about how they feel and how things go at home.

Pediatric appointments focus on the baby as a patient, so monitoring the baby's health and development is a priority. But carers' mental health is vital to ensuring that children have the best environment for them to thrive.

Pediatric appointments focus on the baby as a patient, so monitoring the baby's health and development is a priority. But carers' mental health is vital to ensuring that children have the best environment for them to thrive. A simple question like: "How is it you act? Any overwhelming sadness, anxiety, irritability, or scary thoughts you have had since your baby was born / since you last saw them "can provide a lot of information. It provides providers with the opportunity to evaluate parents' reactions – body language and facial expressions, as well as verbal responses can go a long way in communicating a race.

PMAD promotion tips for professionals

If parents find problems or Edinburgh has a positive result (over 10 or any suicidal thoughts mentioned in Question # 10), it is imperative that symptoms be addressed and providers take responsibility for patient education, referrals. , and reassuring them that what they are experiencing is easy to cure.

You can say something like, "It is common for mothers to experience all kinds of hormonal shifts after childbirth and can sometimes cause mood problems or anxiety. They are very healers and we can give you some resources to help you get back to work. feel good about yourself again. "It's also good to know that 1 in 10 dads are experiencing postpartum depression, so it's important to take care of the whole family.

Taking care of a baby is difficult enough, without having to weigh in on symptoms and emotions that can be cured. Parents need to hear that they are not alone, that their symptoms are not their own, and that they can feel better with their help. Providers must be equipped to identify the problem and offer assistance. To find a mental health professional in your area, get started here.


Gunyon-Meyer, B., Cole, J., Tremayne, L., & Standeven, L. (2018). Perinatal mood disorders: Ingredients of care [Training manual]. Recovered from conducting the International 2-Day Consolation of Depression and Anxiety Disorder.

© Copyright 2019 All rights reserved. Publication permission is provided by Megan MacCutcheon, LPC, Vienna Therapist, Virginia

The previous article was written only by the author named above. Any opinions and opinions are not necessarily expressed by Questions or concerns about the previous article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.