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Doc Is In: Answers for Healthy Living

In our "Ask it Early" series, CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton answered questions from viewers and people who follow her Twitter tweets.

Katherine, from Atlanta, asked Ashton via Web cam on the broadcast if all new mothers should be screened for postpartum depression.

Ashton said, "Absolutely."

She said postpartum depression affects one in 10 women new mothers.

"It should not have the social stigma," Ashton said. "This is not about being over tired or a little moody This is really a medical problem, and it can have significant consequences to both the mother and the baby. And so the sooner it's identified, the sooner it can be treated. And those treatments can include everything from medication to talk therapy to even things like yoga."

"Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith pointed out another question from Adrienne on Twitter.

Adrienne wrote, "I am pregnant and have come in contact with someone with the (H1N1) flu, what do I need to do?"

CBSNews.com Special Report: H1N1

Ashton suggested she talk with her obstetrician immediately.

"Just because you've been exposed to someone who may have H1N1 flu does not mean you, yourself, will get sick. But we know pregnant women are at a much higher risk of serious complications, and early treatment with things like Tamiflu, if you were to develop symptoms is very important."

Another question came from someone called "FARFSGIRL" on Twitter: "Are breast cancer testing options for women under 40?"

Ashton said there are, and you can start with giving a good family history to your doctor.

"If you have a first-degree relative, which is a mother, sister, daughter, who has had breast cancer at an early age, generally we start screening that person at ten years earlier," she said. "So that means if someone was diagnosed at 40, they start getting screened at 30 with mammograms, things like MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), ultrasound, and there's a genetic blood test called BRCA, if you have a strong family history."

However, if you don't have the family connection, Ashton said, there aren't many options available, Ashton said, citing the American Cancer Society's generally accepted methods.

However, she added, prevention is key. "A healthy lifestyle and knowing your family history is probably the most important," she said.

Also Jonathan, from Erie, Pa., asked via Web cam how Americans can find the right food supplements for their needs.

"Many people are told by their doctor, for instance, to take a fish oil supplement for their lipids, but there are more than one choice," he said. "What can you tell Americans about finding the right supplement for them?"

Ashton explained supplements and vitamins are not regulated with the same standards as medications.

"You do need a little bit of the buyer beware. It's not always correlated with costs. So the highest cost are not necessarily the best," she said.

Ashton recommended going for supplements with seals, such as the United States Pharmacopeia seal and the ConsumerLab.com seal.

As for fish oil, Ashton recommended skipping the supplements and eating the actual fish.

She said, "Two oily fish meals a week will give you about 500 milligrams of the omega oils you need to help prevent things like heart disease."



To contact Dr. Jennifer Ashton, go to her Twitter page by clicking here.
For more information about postpartum depression, go to Postpartum Progress or Postpartum Support International.