Identifying and Treating Postpartum Depression

Jennifer L. Payne, MD


August 22, 2023

Postpartum depression (PPD) is the most common complication of childbirth, affecting approximately 1 in 8 women. However, it is frequently overlooked and undertreated. Less than 50% of mothers with PPD are diagnosed or receive any type of therapy.

In this ReCAP, Dr Jennifer Payne from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, discusses why PPD is often overlooked by the patient as well as medical professionals. She also examines the long-term consequences and behavioral problems that can result for both mother and child, which for the mother, can include fatigue, and for the child can result in lower IQ and slower language development.

Dr Payne further outlines how in clinical practice the diagnosis of postpartum depression can be improved using a self-rating scale, such as the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.

Finally, she examines various treatment options, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, light therapy, and antidepressant medications including one that has been approved recently by the US Food and Drug Administration for PPD.


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