With Perinatal Depression on the rise, doctors urge early counselling for pregnant women
A board of researchers and clinicians came to the conclusion that counseling was the best way to combat depression in pregnant women and young mothers
There are a number of women who suffer from depression while being pregnant or after pregnancy. Depression is one of the most common complications which arises as a result of pregnancy and also after childbirth, and according to experts, this can be prevented.
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Perinatal depression tends to affect around one in seven women. A report which was published in JAMA showed that care such as mental-health screening and also counseling can effectively prevent perinatal depression.
A task force member and senior vice president for research at the Northwell Health, Karina Davidson shared with the New York Times, "We really need to find these women before they get depressed."
A panel of clinicians and researchers observed a few methods for depression prevention including physical activity, infant sleep training, counseling, antidepressants, Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as yoga. The panel came to find that counseling was the clear winner as it helps to reduce the risk of depression by around 39%. The researchers also shared that the panel preferred cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy looks at an individual's patterns of thought and behavior while interpersonal therapy looks into a person's relationships and actions with others. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the screening for depression is covered and has no cost for mothers under the Affordable Care Act.
The one drawback to this is, given there is no standard screening tool to check perinatal depression, it is "more complex to perform a risk assessment". Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Marlene P. Freeman wrote this and added that it was more complex to accurately determine whether a woman is at risk or not.
The symptoms of perinatal depression include loss of interest and energy, depressed mood, fluctuations in sleep or eating patterns, reduced ability to think or concentrate, and feelings of worthlessness.
Depression is very different from the common 'baby blues'. Both depression and 'baby blues' are about mood disturbances which come out via crying, irritability, fatigue, and anxiety. Depression can last for much more than two weeks as compared to 'baby blues' which are gone within 10 days of delivery. It has also been found that children of mothers who suffered from perinatal depression show more behavioral problems, lower cognitive functioning and also an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders.