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Healthcare providers who work directly with pregnant women and new parents have the opportunity to identify signs and symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) and refer patients for treatment. Assessing for PPD is essential for early identification and to improve parent and infant health outcomes.
It is important to increasingly normalize PPD and utilize language which is nonjudgmental and encouraging when screening for PPD.
Therapy can be an effective way to address the way parents are feeling, thinking, and acting. Parents struggling with postpartum depression can benefit from learning new ways to cope with stress, and how to manage their feelings. Involving significant others (e.g., spouses, family) in treatment can also help improve communication and enlist their support and help during difficult times. Counseling may be done on an individual basis, or may be offered in a group through a formal group therapy program.
Antidepressants may be effective in treating postpartum depression. For more information about medication use contact your healthcare provider.
Support groups can be helpful in a variety of ways, including:
In addition to therapy and/or medication, many parents benefit from supplemental support such as
PPD screenings allow a standard mechanism for a provider to learn more about a family and about their current stressors. It can reduce stigma, identify provider as ‘safe’ and identify barriers that may interfere with a family reaching their goals.
MassHealth is reimbursing providers for PPD Screening using a DPH approved DPH Validated Screening Tool
There are various steps to take in order to reduce stress after delivery and to identify signs of PPD early. If you are working with perinatal individuals, especially those who may be at risk for depression, some of the following resources may be helpful for your clients/patients.