Postpartum depression is a more common condition than the majority of people imagines, affecting mothers after they give birth. It’s a form of depression, as its name implies, and its early diagnosis is essential to tackle the condition as fast as possible. Now, thanks to a new Northwestern Medicine study, the postpartum severity might be predictable via four characteristics.
Early recognition of signs and symptoms of postpartum by the medical staff and the establishment of an appropriate treatment determines a favorable prognosis of this condition in the mothers affected by it, as well as optimal development conditions of the newborn.
“By the time a mother comes in for her six-week postpartum visit, we have the potential to predict the severity of her depression over the next 12 months. This would be a game-changer for mothers and their clinicians because we could encourage early intervention, so moms have better odds of success with their treatment over time,” explained Sheehan Fisher, the first author of the study.
These Four Characteristics Help Medical Staff Predict Postpartum Depression Severity
The four characteristics identified by the researchers in their new study include the number of children the mother has, mom’s educational level (it determines her access to resources), her social status (the ability to function in her general life, at work and in her relationships with her partner, friends, and family), and the mother’s depressive episodes history.
“It’s not just a question of ‘Is the mother feeling depressed?’ but rather, ‘Which way is she headed in her depression?’ If her depression symptoms are going to get worse over time, she needs to be proactive about treatment,” Sheehan Fisher said.
Addressing postpartum depression is crucial for the mothers to live a happy life with their newborns and take care of their babies properly. Thus, the four characteristics that predict postpartum depression severity are essential for the doctors to help moms with this condition and offer them the correct treatment.