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Hope and help for new moms battling depression

Posted at 10:44 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 14:35:00-04

You've probably heard the term "baby blues" - the sadness and often anxious feelings many new moms experience after giving birth and dealing with hormonal and body changes, paired up with lack of sleep in those first few weeks following delivery.

In fact, Dr. Daniel Chappell with Ogden Clinic's Farmington Location says one in two women will experience symptoms of postpartum depression.

He says the good news is that "Patients don’t just have to suffer through it. There’s a lot of things we can do to help."

Chappell says postpartum depression is something many women just try to ignore.

"A lot of folks will think that hey, this is normal. I haven’t slept in three weeks or haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in three weeks, and this is what all the other moms are going through, and so I just need to push through it and it’ll be fine."

New moms are going through this "fourth trimester" - a period of hormonal change, exacerbated by a lack of of sleep. But the severity of so called baby blues varies from woman to woman, and Dr. Chappell says it can become worse if not treated.

"There are all kinds of things from medicine to counseling, to groups that could really help," says Chappell.

Prevalence rates for postpartum depression for the top most-populous metropolitan statistical areas from last summer's BlueCross BlueShield Association’s The Health of America Report show two Utah cities in the top ten in the nation.

At #3 behind only Rochester and Springfield is Salt Lake City, and at #9 on the list is the Provo-Orem area.

"Fifty percent of all women will experience postpartum depression after having a baby, so one out of two," says Chappell.

Symptoms include feeling down or depressed, anxious or nervous, or having intrusive thoughts that may lead to harmful actions involving you or your baby.

"Seek counsel of your women’s health provider, whether that’s your family doctor, OBGYN, even a pediatrician can help out, or midwife, because that’s someone who’s confidential" says Chappell.

More importantly, Chappell says these providers are trained to help.

"You don’t have to just suffer through it. You don’t have to go months and months feeling those symptoms, that you can seek help and there are really good medications and therapies that can really help you through it."