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All women should be screened for depression during pregnancy and after giving birth

January 26, 2016

Today an influential government-appointed health panel concluded that women should be screened for depression during pregnancy and after giving birth. This is the first time it has recommended screening for maternal mental illness. The recommendation comes after new evidence established that mental illness in new mothers is more common than previously thought; that many cases of what has been called postpartum depression actually start during pregnancy; and that left untreated, these mood disorders can be detrimental to the well-being of both mothers and their babies.

Experts estimate depression may affect as many as 1 in 7 mothers, yet many women are reluctant to share symptoms with doctors or others. People remark to the new mother, “Isn’t everything so wonderful?” and the women don’t want to say anything bad because they are afraid of what people will think. If a mother is feeling anxious, cries constantly, barely sleeps, rarely leaves the home, and is scared to death that something will happen to her baby, she may think: “Oh my God, I’m having these crazy feelings and nobody’s talking about it. I must be a terrible mother.”

If OB doctors were routinely screening for depression, there would be less reluctance to report symptoms of post-partum depression. Today’s report is expected to cause many more health providers to provide screening.

If you or your baby suffered and injury due to a military doctor’s failure to screen for and/or treat post-partum depression, please contact our military medical malpractice lawyers for help. Free, confidential consultations 24/7 by phone: 1-877-695-8757 or e-mail: LawHelp@MilitaryMedicalMalpractice.com


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