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Mercy Helps New Moms Fight Depression

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Mercy Helps New Moms Fight Depression

By Lynne Roberts. CREATED Jun 11, 2014

Mercy in Springfield has implemented a new screening process for postpartum depression.

Edited from a press release from Mercy:

Everyone expects mothers to be overjoyed when their new baby arrives, but for some, the days after childbirth are very scary. They may feel disconnected from the baby or have thoughts about hurting themselves or the child. These are symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD), and a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 8 to 11 percent of women reported having these feelings.

“I couldn’t sleep and my mind kept racing,” said Kim Crist, who was hospitalized for PPD shortly after the birth of her daughter. “I couldn’t function, but I didn’t want help – I wanted to pretend I was fine. Thankfully, a neighbor stepped in before it was too late.”

As Mercy adopts a formal PPD screening procedure, Mercy Kids pediatricians will be on the front lines. They see new moms and babies in their offices weeks before the first OB/GYN appointment. They will formally screen mothers beginning at two weeks, although they’ll be on the lookout for symptoms at the child’s first appointment. “Moms may be tearful, sad or disengaged,” explained Mercy Kids pediatrician Dr. Don Sponenberg, who made the push for the new screening program. “If we see the signs, we’ll refer the moms to their obstetricians for appropriate care or send them to the emergency room if help can’t wait.”

Mercy’s Family Resource Center will get involved to provide support, ensure moms keep their appointments and give follow-up assessments.

“Greene County remains one of the worst in the state for child abuse,” said Cindy Whitten, vice president of Mercy Kids and women’s services at Mercy Hospital Springfield. “My years of experience as a nurse tell me that if we can do a better job of supporting parents throughout the journey of raising children, then we can start to influence those abuse numbers. This help will be available right after moms give birth.”

To kick off the program, Mercy is hosting a nationally-known speaker on postpartum depression on Wednesday, June 11. Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody will speak to local health care providers and community partners about the best practices for PPD screening as well as the current theories on why some women suffer.

Dr. Meltzer-Brody’s presentation is not open to the general public.