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Postpartum Depression: How Common?

The CDC today issued its latest statistics on postpartum depression , and the
figures show that certain groups of women may be at higher risk.

The CDC's report included more than 52,000 new moms in 17 states. The women,
who had given birth within the past two to six months, completed a survey that
included these questions:


  • Since your new baby was born, how often have you
    felt down, depressed, or hopeless?

  • Since your new baby was born, how often have you had little interest or
    little pleasure in doing things?


Responses were "never," "rarely," "sometimes,"
"often," or "always." Women who said "often" or
"always" to either question were classified as having self-reported
postpartum depression .

The prevalence of self-reported postpartum depression ranged from 11.7% in
Maine to 20.4% in New Mexico.

Postpartum depression was more often reported by teenage moms, mothers with
less than 12 years of education, Medicaid patients, smokers, victims of
physical abuse before or during pregnancy , and women under
traumatic or financial stress during pregnancy.

Having a low-birth-weight baby or a baby admitted to a neonatal intensive
care unit was also tied to self-reported postpartum depression in most of the
17 states.

The postpartum depression statistics, published in the April 11 edition of
the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, don't separate women
who became depressed after giving birth from women who
were already depressed before pregnancy.

The CDC urges women to get treatment for postpartum depression for the sake
of mother and baby alike.

The CDC also notes that the American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists recommends that doctors screen all new moms for postpartum
depression four to six weeks after birth.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario
©2005-2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved

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