Raising Awareness about Post-Partum Depression  

Having a baby means many changes, and any new mom can experience postpartum depression (PPD). It can develop after the birth of any child, not just the first. For half of women diagnosed with PPD, it is their first time to have depression.   

Emily Carlson, RN, Bright Start home visiting nurse, emphasized, “When working with moms and babies it is vital for me to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms early on so interventions can be made and help given. Recognizing someone is struggling can be lifesaving.”  

Emily Carlson

For the one in seven women who are impacted by PPD, there are resources available to support them. Having a Bright Start nurse during pregnancy can help. Carlson points out, “During both the prenatal period and the postpartum period, we complete anxiety and depression screenings on all our mothers enrolled in the Bright Start program. PPD is the most common complication for women who have just had a baby and our team has been able to assist many moms connect with the help and resources they need.”    

There is no single cause, but genetics can play a role, in addition to physical changes and emotional issues. A few signs to look out for that can increase the chances of PPD include:  

  • The mother has extreme changes in feelings.  
  • The mother has extreme changes in everyday life.  
  • The mother has extreme changes in thoughts about themselves or the baby.  

To learn more about signs and symptoms of PPD visit Mayo Clinic .  

For mothers experiencing PPD, there are steps that can help mitigate symptoms. In addition to healthy eating habits and getting physical activity, it is important to ask for help when needed and reduce stress as much as possible. Seeking counseling from care providers and support groups may also help to reduce PPD, along with prescribed medication.  

If you feel you may have PPD, seek guidance from a health care provider immediately or call/ text the PPD Helpline at 1-800-944-4773.   

Other resources:
South Dakota Suicide Prevention (sdsuicideprevention.org)   
Help for Moms | Postpartum Support International (PSI)   

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Anyone can refer a family member, friend, or themselves to receive support from Bright Start by completing the referral form on the website.