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Healthwatch 16: Postpartum depression

Doctors worry that at a time like this, there are a lot of women who need help who aren't reaching out.

Postpartum depression is something doctors worry about all the time, but there's even more concern now that COVID-19 has entered the picture. It's why Geisinger has started a new screening program to try and figure out whether a woman is at a higher risk for developing postpartum depression. The fear is, at a time like this, there are a lot of women who need help who aren't reaching out.

"We've asked people to social distance themselves. We've asked them to stop attending their faith-based organizations. Right now, there's more silence than we're aware of," said Dr. Manuel Arreguin, director of women's health for Geisinger Northeast. "Crying spells, irritability, lack of sleep, feeling anxious and isolated - those are typical. And what we're seeing now is those social things that would help them cope? It's a lot less."

"Geisinger has launched a new innovative program that screens for postpartum depression. In the past, we've done screenings at the end of pregnancy. This innovative program screens them during pregnancy, into postpartum, and even into well-baby visits. Now we're looking at a wider screen. We're looking at risk factors and following them into when the baby has been born, and perhaps moms are left alone. That's what we're looking to do," Dr. Arreguin said. "We applaud women who come forward and say, 'You know, I'm kind of struggling with this.'"

That's all this short bit of a story is meant to do: to say to pregnant women and new moms, despite everything that's going on in the world, your mental health is important. 

If something doesn't feel right, if you wonder if it's the baby blues or even something more dangerous, never hesitate to bring it up with your own OB/GYN.