Supporting Mental Health of New and Expecting Mothers

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 11.17.11 AMIt’s common for women to experience some level of stress, anxiety, anxiousness prior to or following the birth of their child. However, recent studies suggest that some women — up to 1 in 7 — experience a much serious mental health condition known as postpartum depression.

As mental health awareness grows nationally, health care providers and specialty networks — therapeutic counseling, support groups — work to assess and treat the mental well-being of new and expecting mothers.

“In late January, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that all primary care doctors — including OB/GYNS — screen all pregnant women and new mothers for depression,” reports LancasterOnline.

“The sooner we can support each other during difficult times, the sooner we will overcome the stigma of postpartum depression,” says Anna Brendle Kennedy, LOHF Executive Director.

“Trials in postpartum women showed 28 to 59 precent reductions in the risk of depression at 3- to 5-month follow-up after participating in programs involving depression screening, with or without additional treatment components, compared to usual care,” reports the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in a recent study.

Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation (LOHF) is proud to partner with Mental Health America of Lancaster County during Moms Supporting Moms, a forum for moms to share their experiences with exhaustion, appetite or sleep disturbances, mood swings, anxiety or feeling overwhelmed. The group meets on the second and fourth Friday of each month, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at 630 Janet Ave., Room B-107.

“I was screened only once during my own pregnancy,” said Anna. “Unfortunately, my experience is not uncommon. I was so surprised that not a single group existed at the time, even though my doctor assured me that there must be one.”

It is important to be your own advocate when it comes to your mental health. If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety or complicated feelings prior to or following the birth of your child, tell someone! With the support of a caring community, we can overcome the stigma surrounding this common mental health issue.

For more information or to get involved, please contact us today!