Postpartum Depression Can Be Serious  A new clinical report encourages physicians to screen for postpartum depression as the disorder can have grave consequences for both mother and child.

According to researchers, maternal postpartum depression can have serious adverse effects on the mother and child relationship, resulting in an environment that can disrupt the infant’s development.

Infants who live in a neglectful or depressed setting are likely to show delays in development and impaired social interaction.

In the report, pediatric practices are encouraged to screen mothers for postpartum depression, to use community resources for the treatment and referral of the depressed mother, and to provide support for the mother-child relationship.

Estimated rates of depression among pregnant and postpartum women can range between 5 percent and 25 percent.

A family history of depression, alcohol abuse and a personal history of depression increase the risk of perinatal depression.

A prenatal visit in the pediatric medical home is an excellent opportunity to establish a relationship with the parents, assess for risk of depression and supports, and initiate preventive strategies.

Postpartum depression can lead to increased medical costs, inappropriate medical care, discontinuation of breastfeeding and child abuse and neglect. Screening is recommended and is considered a “best practice” in caring for infants and their families.

The report, issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is entitled “Incorporating Recognition and Management of Perinatal and Postpartum Depression Into Pediatric Practice.” It is published in the November print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics