Raising awareness on postpartum depression

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, postpartum depression is believed to affect at least one in nine women following birth.  

Postpartum depression is a medical illness that causes extreme sadness, mood changes, and more and can have effects on a mother in many ways.   

Heather Cugini, MD, OB/GYN at Southeast Women First, says that people who have a personal history of depression or anxiety can have a recurrence or relapse during their pregnancy.  

“Or they can have the first onset of symptoms during the process of a pregnancy or in that first 12 months postpartum,” said Cugini.

Postpartum depression can affect moms in many ways such as causing a depressed mood or severe mood swings, a fear that you’re not a good mother, and difficulty bonding with your baby. 

Cugini said if there’s depression it could delay that appreciation for bonding. 

Visiting your doctor is very important, especially after such a life-changing event.  

What may seem like a minor symptom to you could be a risk factor indicating more severe issues. 

Cugini said that checks for these symptoms should happen at least three times with a mother and her doctor.  

“We’re supposed to be doing it at least once in the antepartum or before the baby comes time frame and then we’re supposed to be doing it at least once within the first six weeks and then at least once within the first year of life,” said Cugini. 

But Cugini believes that these checks might not be happening as often as needed.  

“How many people actually do that I can’t tell you but I could tell you it’s probably not as many as they should,” said Cugini. 

Cugini hopes that the more we continue the conversation the more we can fight the stigma for women. 

“I think that’s one of the ways that we can reduce stigma to identify it against screen our women and say hey listen how are you doing,” she said. 

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