Sunday, September 20, 2009

Beyond Baby Blues

FROM MEDSTAR: You might have heard about the baby blues, but if they persist, it could be a sign of a deeper depression. As Vince Sherry tells us, taking care of moms with severe postpartum depression is the focus of a unique program.

Becoming a mom brought joy to Clarke May. But when her son Max was three months old, things started to unravel. Sot: Clarke May “I kind of stopped sleeping and I started having a lot of anxiety out of nowhere. Started having panic attacks.” Clarke was terrified something would happen to her son. Eventually she was diagnosed with postpartum depression, a disorder that affects up to 15-percent of new mothers.

Sot: Samantha Meltzer-Brody, m.d., m.p.h. “It is one of the most common, often unrecognized complications of childbirth.” At UNC, Dr. Meltzer-Brody directs the nation’s only inpatient program specifically for women with severe postpartum depression. Sot: Samantha Meltzer-Brody, m.d., m.p.h. “All the staff, the doctors, the nurses, all the programming is geared towards women during pregnancy and postpartum, the concerns of new mothers.” The unit is designed with mothers in mind…gliders to rock babies, peaceful pictures, and quiet areas for counseling.

Sot: Samantha Meltzer-Brody, m.d., m.p.h.
“All the programming, biofeedback, relaxation, the group treatments are all focused around this particular concern.” For many, medication is part of the therapy, but it's a treatment that can worry breastfeeding moms. Sot: Samantha Meltzer-Brody, m.d., m.p.h. “So what we try and do is to tailor the treatment so that we treat the patient’s symptoms with a medication that will be effective while allowing them to nurse if they would like to.” The effort to care for each individual helped Clarke return home to her little boy.

Sot: Clarke May “The program was really personalized. Everyone worked together as a team and really tailored the program to fit my specific needs.” And brought her full circle to embrace motherhood.
The perinatal mood disorder inpatient program is located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and is open to women across the country. If you are a mom who is concerned about postpartum depression, there is an online tool, called the ‘edinburgh scale’ (

I really hope this doesn't happen to me! I always feel depressed when I don't get any sleep. And really how do you get any sleep with a newborn, a 2-year-old and a kid with night terrors? I think I should plan on being depressed and maybe that will prevent it. Hopefully the baby will be a good sleeper and I will be able to go to bed a lot earlier since I will be home before 10pm. I am waking up 3-4 times a night already. So, if the baby and I get on the same schedule, I should be just fine. Did you suffer from post-partum depression? How did you get over it?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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