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Gain more from early detection of postpartum depression

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Postnatal depression affects about 1 in 10 women. This type of depression has a significant impact on the mother, but it can also affect the development of the child. Therefore, it is important to identify the potential for depression early. Newborn mothers often find it difficult to talk about the symptoms of depression, and even medical professionals are often unaware of such depression. Angarath van der Zee, a PhD candidate at the University of Twente and a child health care physician, studied how a preventive child health care (PCHC) center can improve the detection of depression. Van der Zee said: “My study has shown that early detection with PCHC can do a lot. The number of mothers experiencing depression in the first nine months of life has been reduced by up to one-third. ”

Van der Zee shows that over 95% of mothers visit preventive pediatric care centers with their children several times during the first year of life. This can be a great opportunity to detect depression early. In addition, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), a reliable short questionnaire that PCHC can use to screen for depression, is available.

Significant improvement

As part of a post-up study, Van der Zee investigated the effects of repeated use of EPDS at the PCHC Center during the first 6 months of childbirth on mothers and children. The mother answered 10 EPDS questions before the consultation. The PCHC doctor discussed the results with his mother during the examination. If EPDS results showed severe depressive symptoms, which were confirmed during the examination, the PCHC doctor was advised to refer the mother to specialized care. If her mother showed mild symptoms, she was offered a home visit by a PCHC nurse. This study showed a clear effect of screening. At 9 months postpartum, 2.5% of mothers in the screened group had symptoms of depression, while 8.4% of mothers in the unscreened group had symptoms. In addition, screened mothers were confident in their child-rearing skills, had fewer anxiety symptoms, and improved general mental health.

This study also provided guidance for improvement. For example, in the current unscreened situation, four in ten mothers who experienced symptoms of depression were treated for these symptoms the year after giving birth. More mothers can be treated by establishing step-by-step care. Mothers with mild symptoms can receive easily accessible support through PCHC, and mothers with more severe symptoms provide clear and accessible treatment for the specific circumstances of the mother during this period. need to do it. In addition, the detection of symptoms of depression should begin during pregnancy. This requires close cooperation and coordination between midwives, obstetric nurses and PCHC.

In addition to depression, you also need to pay attention to anxiety. This study showed that EPDS was unable to properly detect anxiety. However, postpartum anxiety has been shown to be even more common than depression. Therefore, we need to find other ways to recognize anxiety.

Impact on children and social impact

This study could not measure the effect of screening on the socio-emotional development of a one-year-old child. This may be because the children were still young and it was difficult to use questionnaires to measure the possible effects of screening on their development. Further research needs to be conducted to determine whether more focus on mother-child interactions during the post-screening stage has a beneficial effect on the child’s socio-emotional development.

Finally, this study showed that postpartum depression has a significant impact on society. Mothers with symptoms of depression make more use of other medical services, such as physiotherapy and emergency care, not only for themselves but also for their children. Mothers with symptoms of depression also have a higher absentee rate. Introducing screening nationwide and implementing follow-up plans can reduce this social impact.


Even mild depressive symptoms of the mother affect the emotional well-being of the child


For more information:
Additional information on the defense of this PhD can be found at postup.nl

Courtesy of Twente University

Quote: Https: //medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-gain-early-postpartum-depression.html from early detection of postpartum depression (April 8, 2021) obtained on April 8, 2021 Get more

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Gain more from early detection of postpartum depression

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