On February 2019, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) made a recommendation that “clinicians provide or refer pregnant and postpartum persons who are at increased risk of perinatal depression to counseling interventions”. This is a small step forward in finally recognizing a largely ignored and epidemic problem within our society.
So what is perinatal depression and why should we care? It is the “occurrence of a depressive disorder during pregnancy or following childbirth”. It affects as many as 1 in 7 women and is one of the most common complications of pregnancy and the postpartum period. There is definitely no question that it can result in adverse short- and long-term effects on both the woman and her child.
With the birth of our first child, my wife personally experienced depression. She was dealing with so many life changes and expectations of being the perfect mother. In addition to this, our son was having difficulties reaching his growth milestones each week. She did everything in her power to help our son but he was eventually diagnosed as ‘Failure to Thrive’. That was another emotional blow she had to deal with. No one truly knew how she was feeling. As her husband, I could definitely see a change but didn’t know how severe it really was.
The USPSTF “found convincing evidence that counseling interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy, are effective in preventing perinatal depression.” The problem is how is the doctor or anyone suppose to know that the mother is experiencing depression.
This is one of the reasons why we at Jollitot created the ThriveBaby app. It allows expecting and current mothers to input and track how they are feeling from day-to-day. It is really easy to use and even has emojis the mother can pick to match their mood and emotional state. The key piece of the ThriveBaby app is that this, along with other important information, is being communicated to their ob/gyn or pediatrician. This is directly inline with the USPSTF’s recommendation “that clinicians provide or refer pregnant and postpartum persons who are at increased risk of perinatal depression to counseling interventions.” So if the doctor sees a trend and risk of any depressive disorder, it can be immediately controlled before it becomes a sad and unnecessary tragedy.
Unfortunately, this was too late for 28-year old mother, Libby Davis, when she vanished and later found dead in a creek. “She suffered from postpartum depression since giving birth to her then 20-month-old daughter, and her state of mind may have worsened in the last few days” leading to her death. This is a such a said story and no one should ever have to experience.