Study: Docs Should Screen Pregnant Moms for Depression

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DALLAS, TX -- Perhaps there’s no greater joy in the world, than welcoming a baby into your family.

But for some women, it can be surprising to learn they carried more than just a baby during their pregnancy.

“I felt, at times, very disconnected from everyone around me; a lot of guilt involved with that because you have a new baby and you’re supposed to be happy and everything is supposed to be perfect, and I didn’t feel that way,” mother of four Liza Ter Kuile told NewsFix.

New evidence suggests postpartum depression is more common than you may think. A study also reveals depression can actually start during pregnancy.

You maybe wondering, what’s postpartum depression? Well, simply put, it’s a form of depression some women experience after giving birth. New moms can often experience sadness, anxiety and in some cases, extreme mood swings.

“This is frightening to them because they initially begin to think they’re not going to be a good mom.” Dr. John Bertrand is an OBGYN on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

"The study pointed out, it’s important to identify these women to see if they need treatment,” Dr. Bertrand said.

Earlier this week, the United States Preventive Service Task Force released new recommendations that urge docs screen women before and after giving birth.

"By identifying these patients, we can treat them so they can have a much calmer and happier postpartum experience,” Dr. Bertrand explained.

"We found out if we can identify these patients, before delivery, and begin treatment, whether it’s therapy or medicinal, then we have a much better chance postpartum of keeping them health emotionally.”

Liza is all too familiar with postpartum symptoms.

"[I was] just very overwhelmed, feelings of hopelessness, extremely sleep deprived,” she recalled.

Liza agrees there’s a need for preventive screenings. "I think it’s a long time coming. It would have been life-changing for me if I had been screened, and I think it’s going to have a very positive effect on women.”

Liza receives treatment for her depression and spends her time talking to other new moms.

"If I can connect with one mom, and save her, or make her journey a little bit better, I’m glad to share my story.”

Baby steps that can help new moms focus on their new additions.