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HomeTrauma-Informed Model of Maternity CareAbout Amy Meister-Stetson
Postpartum Adjustment and Support

The birth of a baby is a powerful experience.  After the birth women will experience drastic hormonal changes which may be accompanied by sleep deprivation, fatigue, emotional outbursts and mood swings.  To some degree, these "baby blues" can be considered a normal response to the intensity of these challenges considering that it affects up to 80% of women.  Support groups can be a huge help for parents with newborns.  Utilize the Resource page for information on new parent support groups.  It is helpful to get out of the house and enjoy some company with other adults, ask questions, make friends and share your experiences or concerns with others who can understand the challenges of parenting a newborn. 
However, sometimes it is more serious and doesn't disappear after 2-3 weeks.  In the days, weeks, or even months following the birth, a woman may exhibit signs of a postpartum mood disorder.  Some signs may include anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder or psychosis (rarely).  If you have any concerns at all or things "just don't feel right" it is always best to speak to a professional, especially one who specializes in working with women in the perinatal period.


Even though Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood Disorders (PPMD's) affect up to 20% of women and about 10% of men, most providers do not routinely screen for them.  If left untreated there may be problems bonding with the baby, and in relationships with family and signicant others.  Unfortunately, they do not just go away, but the negative effects continue to impact the parent-child relationship as well as the child's development.  During the postpartum session, I offer the EPDS (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale), a short 10-question survey which may indicate areas of concern and the necessity for a referral to a professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of women with PPMD's.  If indicated, I can pass along information for specially trained providers
I believe every woman deserves to be screened for postpartum depression.  It has been shown that accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment leads to a good prognosis.  You can take the EPDS and give the results to your health care provider for referrals if needed, or follow the link for Postpartum Support International.   Below is the EPDS questionnaire and scoring key.  Please complete it first without reading how to score it!  Honesty is important.  Remember this is only screening for postpartum depression and is not intended to diagnose PPD or any other condition.  The scale indicates how the mother has felt during the previous weekThe scale will not detect mothers with anxiety, neuroses, phobias or personality disorder. 

Women with a PPMD are not to blame and they CAN be helped.  If you are concerned about yourself or someone you love, please call for help:
Postpartum Support International of Washington
toll-free support line

Postpartum Support International of Washington

Sound Mind...Sound Body...Sound Birth

Knowledge is power--have an empowering birth!