Postpartum Depression in the News

The recent FDA approval of the first pill specifically intended to treat postpartum depression which affects roughly 1 in 7 women who have given birth according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  Nearly half are not diagnosed due to lack of screening and reporting.     

As Arizona’s largest nonprofit dedicated to early childhood development, Southwest Human Development, has long recognized the profound impact of postpartum depression on both mothers and infants. 

Post-Partum Depression Can Have Far-Reaching Effects for the Whole Family

“The emotional well-being of mothers directly influences infant development and the family dynamic,” according to Rose Phillips, independent Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and clinical consultant at Southwest Human Development, “Impaired bonding and developmental delays can have far-reaching effects.”

Mothers suffering from postpartum depression report feeling detached from their new babies, battling anxiety, guilt or anger, and struggling with everyday activities.  They often experience overwhelming sadness and have trouble concentrating.

A Complex Problem Requires a Comprehensive Approach

While researchers do not fully understand the underlying causes of these symptoms, it is widely acknowledged that both biological factors and life circumstances play significant roles. This becomes especially concerning when mothers and newborns face additional complications, such as a stressful stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Adding to the complexity is the fact that although recent medical guidelines recommend proactive screening for depression in pregnant women and new mothers, not all physicians adhere to these recommendations.

Furthermore, many women and families fail to recognize the severity of the problem or underestimate its impact. At such a challenging time, seeking help can be a daunting task.

“The FDA’s approval of this new treatment option signifies progress,” Phillips affirmed. “However, it is critical that, as a community, we rally around new mothers and young families, providing them with a comprehensive range of programs that offer essential care, attention, and support needed for their well-being. At Southwest Human Development, there are more than 40 programs designed to support families during these crucial years. We encourage anyone with questions about parenting to contact our Birth to Five Helpline. Our childhood development experts are available to provide information and resources in helping families get off to the strong support they need.”

All content in this article, including any advice or commentary from Southwest Human Development staff and/or others, should be considered an opinion and is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for medical or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the direct advice of your own trusted professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the child/ren in your care. Southwest Human Development does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures or other information that may be mentioned in this article. You may contact Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline at 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) to speak with one of our early childhood professionals for personalized assistance. Birth to Five Helpline specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.