I have written about postpartum mood disorders in the past. I continue to emphasize the importance of being aware of mood disorders during the entire perinatal period - meaning before and after birth. This is a topic so close to my heart so I will speak about it often. Creating awareness, to me, is an important part of prenatal care. The healthcare system is slowly waking up to the reality & prevalence of postpartum depression. Many practitioners are slow to pick up on the postpartum anxiety and prenatal mental health issues. Once we have regular prenatal screening, hopefully women will be able to receive proper care.
In an information page by Postpartum Progress, Dr. Ruta Nonacs of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School adds,
Postpartum depression is far more common than gestational diabetes. All women receiving prenatal care are screened for diabetes, but how many pregnant and postpartum women are screened for depression? PPD is also more common than preterm labor, low birth weight, pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure; in other words, PPD is the most common complication associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
What can your doula do?
With all of my clients I check in on their emotions and mental health prenatally. I run through the questions on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale with mamas, and even take a minute to ask the partner their opinion. I tell clients that even though our postpartum work ends within a few weeks post-birth that they are always able to call me. I make them aware that postpartum mood disorders can occur anytime in the year after giving birth.