Crescent Womb had the opportunity to talk with Laurent Depaola who is the founder and CEO of Better Beginnings, which is a practice who focus on the reproductive emotional health of new and expecting mothers. Lauren chatted with us about the commonality and very definition of postpartum depression and how new mothers can seek treatment. Listed below is her response to these common questions about PPD.
1. What is Postpartum Depression?
2. Why is it so difficult to detect?
“Perinatal mood disorders are often “hidden” due to parents’ fear of sharing how they are feeling. Fear of the illness having to do something with how “good” of a parent they are and often fear that their child(ren) will be taken from them. An additional difficulty for "detecting" the presence of these illnesses is the provider's lack of education on how and why to screen as well as their lack of knowledge on what to do/where to refer parents who may be experiencing a perinatal mental illness.”
3. How do you detect PPD?
“There are very easy to use and free screening tools, including the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item questionnaire (GAD7). It is very important to note that a conversation is just as or more important than screening. It is not recommended to simply screen and not have a conversation with the parent; as well as to use the screening tool and not refer for services when needed. When we have the opportunity to train providers, we stress the importance of dedicating time for at least a short conversation to talk with the parent about how common mental health complications are during the time of pregnancy and postpartum; letting them know they are not alone and that there are supports available.”
4. Is there a link between sleep deprivation and PPD?
“There is a plethora of research revealing the connection between insomnia and interrupted sleep and higher incidence of mental illness and mood disorders; this includes parents in the postpartum period. The relationship between mental illness and sleep is cyclical; however, even those with no prior mental illness may also experience depression or anxiety for the first time in the postpartum period related to the interrupted sleep patterns as well as other compounding factors of welcoming a new baby into the home. An adult sleep cycle takes 90 minutes to complete; interrupted sleep cycles affect levels of stress hormones, neurotransmitters and other processes that are "renewed/reset" during the 90 minute cycle. Each adult, while varying in total amount of sleep, is recommended to have around 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep to fully "reset" the brain and body processes, including emotional regulation.
This is difficult to achieve with a newborn in the home, so having supports in place to share the care of baby so parents can get sleep is very important to the overall health of the home.”
5. How can mothers seek treatment for PPD?
“A wonderful international resource for connecting with local supports for parents' mental health is through Postpartum Support International. Their website is www.postpartum.net and their "warmline" is 800-944-4773. They have trained peer supports and a list of trained mental health providers and support groups throughout the U.S. and abroad. In addition, they have free monthly support phone calls for Moms and Dads as well as online support groups”.
6. Tips for managing at home?
“At Better Beginnings when we have the opportunity to work with parents during pregnancy, the best tip is to be prepared with education about how common mental health complications are during and after pregnancy, what risk factors you may have as well as what common symptoms look like; in addition, knowing where to find help. I've attached an infographic we use and encourage medical providers to use for educating parents. In addition, planning for rest, balanced nutrition, healthy social supports, and open communication are very important factors for new parents to consider. Having a baby is a major life event that affects not only the health of Mom but of the entire household; this is a time of receiving- enlisting support to help care for the family and having realistic and healthy expectations during this season are important.”
Better Beginnings is located in Alachua, Florida and is dedicated to ensuring the mental health of new moms. The mission of Crescent Womb is to ensure safe sleep for babies and peace of mind for parents. With the help of Crescent Womb, you and your baby could be sleeping sounder and safer today!
Visit https://betterbeginningsfl.com to learn more about the amazing work that Lauren and her team are doing to help mothers.
CLICK HERE to learn more about how Crescent Womb can help you and your baby sleep better.