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The surprising truth about how long postpartum depression lasts

When Jane gave birth to a baby 10 years ago, she soon began to experience severe postpartum depression. It felt as if her brain was suddenly “rewired”, and her symptoms got worse and worse over time.

47-year-old Jane said: “It feels like this has taken root in my heart and grown up.” This story only requires her name. “Especially suicide. These thoughts have their own lives.”

In the months after giving birth, Jane found herself making clearer and clearer plans for her life. She recalled the point when her son was 3 years old. She almost pointed out an overpass. When strolling with the toddler and her husband, she easily jumped off the overpass and immediately recoiled. Not because of the thought itself, but because she gave up her “secret”

; almost casually.

When her son was 4 years old, Jenny finally realized that she needed help and solved the medicine for Prozac. Almost overnight, her suicidal thoughts disappeared. Despite the fact that she has been born for many years, the root cause of depression is still obvious.

Jane said: “For me, what I am suffering from is postpartum depression. This cannot be more clear.” Jenny often worried that if she was open to what she was going through, she would sound “crazy.” , Especially because of her admiration for her son. “It feels like my brain was rewired during pregnancy.”

The new research published this week in the journal Pediatrics supports what parents like Jane and mental health professionals who specialize in the problem have long known: “Postpartum” depression is not just a few weeks after childbirth and What happened within a few months. . It can last for several years, and it will get worse over time.

The study followed 5,000 mothers in New York, and over time, a quarter of women experienced an increase in depressive symptoms sometime during the three years after giving birth.

Of course, as many as 80% of new mothers experience some form of so-called “baby depression” in the first few weeks after delivery. They may feel sad, anxious and cry. With hormonal fluctuations, their mood may change rapidly, and they have learned to take care of fragile newborn babies with very little sleep.

Postpartum depression can be more severe (although not always) and last longer, usually a few weeks after delivery, but sometimes does not last for a year-or, as this new study shows, even more long. It is based on a recent scientific review that found that as many as 50% of mothers with postpartum depression struggled after the first year.

“‘Postpartum’ depression doesn’t just happen within weeks and months after giving birth. It can last for years and it will get worse over time.

Thanks to screening, it is important to expand our collective understanding of how long postpartum depression can last.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists-which has developed guidelines frequently used by obstetricians and gynecologists and other women’s health professionals-recommends the use of at least one official tool or questionnaire to screen for postpartum depression. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians screen patients for mental health problems at various points in the first six months after delivery.

However, this timetable may not be enough to catch those who are struggling, especially because many patients with postpartum depression feel that they are bad parents out of a certain symptom and are reluctant to talk about what they are experiencing.

This is why the authors of this new study made it clear that screening in the first year after delivery is not enough, and pediatricians should consider evaluating patients for at least the first two years after delivery.

“We know that if PMAD [perinatal mood and anxiety disorder] You can continue without treatment. This symptom may get worse, and many women will immediately ride bicycles during pregnancy. “Paige Bellenbaum, chief external relations officer at The Motherhood Center, a mental health clinic in New York City, said.

Even so, Bellenbaum believes that very few pediatricians, obstetricians and obstetricians and midwives can meet the current minimum recommendations for screening for depression and anxiety, let alone assess their condition in the coming years Up.

Berenbaum said: “There are very few practices that can do this, which is shocking.” “I can’t tell you how many obstetricians and gynecologists I have spoken to over the years, and they said:’Oh, I don’t need Screening. I know my patients very well to see if they are struggling.

But she has seen time and time again that it is often patients who seem to be the most organized and able to cope with the most distressing needs of newborn babies.

Jane has always been like this. Jane has been depressed and suicidal thoughts have been entangled for many years, even if a friend asked her how she was doing. She cannot open herself up. She couldn’t clearly see her deep-seated depression.

Jane said: “This has become my secret, and this substitute element of mine is taking root in my mind.” “I have been waiting for it to disappear. I thought it would. When it did not disappear, for a long time I just accepted it as Part of me. I just have to live with it.”

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