Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Mothers Often Not Asked About Depression, Survey Finds

Date:
June 1, 2007
Source:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Summary:
The majority of doctors in North Carolina do not probe for signs of postpartum depression in new mothers, according to a new survey. Researchers say that a quick check for depression could be as simple as asking a new mother two simple questions.

The majority of doctors in North Carolina do not probe for signs of postpartum depression in new mothers, according to a survey conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Of the 228 physicians responding to the survey who said they had seen women for postpartum visits in the previous three months, 79 percent said they were unlikely to formally screen the patients for depression. An estimated 13 percent of new mothers are affected by postpartum depression. The study will be published June 6, 2007 in the North Carolina Medical Journal.

“We believe that it is very important that physicians work some type of depression screening into postpartum visits,” said Betsy Sleath, lead author of the study and a professor in UNC’s School of Pharmacy.

“And perhaps even more important, women shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to raise this issue with their doctor. We’re expected by society to be happy when we have a child so sometimes it’s hard to talk about the fact that women feel sad, or that it’s hard being a new mother,” Sleath said.

The Patient Health Questionnaire and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale are formal tools physicians and others can use to determine a woman’s risk of postpartum depression. But Dr. Bradley Gaynes, one of the study’s co-authors and a psychiatrist with UNC Health Care, said that checking for signs of depression doesn’t require a formal screen; it could be as simple as asking a new mother two questions:

  • Has your interest in your usual activities changed?
  • Do you feel depressed or hopeless?

“We recognize that physicians must cope with many demands on their time,” Gaynes said. “But depression is one of the most common postpartum complications, and a postpartum depression needs to be identified before it can be treated. We encourage clinicians to always check for signs of depression during postpartum visits. These questions represent the core symptoms of a major depressive disorder.”

According to the study, only 43 percent of physicians said they were almost certain to ask whether a woman felt down, depressed or hopeless; only 27 percent said they were almost certain to ask about a woman’s interest in her usual activities.

“Depression during the perinatal period can have devastating consequences, not only for the women experiencing it but also for the women’s children and family. It’s a disease that affects more than just the new mother,” Gaynes said.

Postpartum depression is thought to be caused by changes in hormone levels that occur after pregnancy, Gaynes said. Every woman has a risk of postpartum depression during the first several months after childbirth, miscarriage or stillbirth. A woman is at greater risk if she has a history of depression; has poor support from her partner, family or friends; or is under significant additional stress, he says.

Symptoms of postpartum depression include extreme fatigue, loss of pleasure in daily life, sleeplessness, sadness, tearfulness, anxiety, hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, irritability, appetite change and poor concentration.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "New Mothers Often Not Asked About Depression, Survey Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070531114235.htm>.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2007, June 1). New Mothers Often Not Asked About Depression, Survey Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070531114235.htm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "New Mothers Often Not Asked About Depression, Survey Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070531114235.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins