Unfortunately, most women with a significant mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety, do not get detected or treated when presenting for prenatal care or social services. Left un-treated, these medical conditions have a major effect on the health and functioning of the mother and baby. Just like high blood pressure or diabetes can damage the body if left untreated, so can depression. Also like diabetes and high blood pressure, depression can be treated effectively. If you notice that you are not feeling like yourself during your pregnancy and after having the baby, tell someone. It is best to talk to several people, including your family members, your obstetrician or other health care professional. If the people in your life or your health care provider do not listen, or do not getting you the help you need, keep asking! Or find someone else to talk to!
The documents below may be helpful for preparing to talk to your doctor.
Every mother should be able to enjoy her pregnancy and her new baby. In order to help you in your journey to wholeness in this time, Postpartum Progress has created a document called the Maternal Mental Health Bill of Rights that outlines what they believe to be vital to the doctor/patient relationship. Click here to visit the Postpartum Progress website to access this document: Maternal Mental Health Bill of Rights.
Postpartum Progress also created a New Mom Checklist for Maternal Mental Health Help. This checklist helps you organize your symptoms so that you be sure to report everything to your doctor that you’re experiencing. This link takes you to the Postpartum Progress where you can access the New Mom Checklist and download it. There are also multiple languages and culturally relevant versions to search through to find what will best help you in your quest for wellness. Click here to visit the Postpartum Progress website to access this guide: New Mom Checklist.
Sometimes it’s helpful to have a written plan of action to hold you accountable to doing things that make you feel better. This Self-Care Action Plan from the American Academy of Family Physicians website is a great resource to guide you in thinking through activities that will be helpful if you find yourself feeling down. You can take this to your doctor’s appointment and fill it out with the help of your doctor as well. Click here to visit the AAFP website to see this guide: AAFP Guide.