Postpartum depression affects approximately one in eight women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Postpartum depression is not just depression, and it’s not just postpartum. It encompasses a wide range of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs): anxiety, depression, obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and psychosis that can present throughout the pregnancy journey.
Jessica M. Vernon, MD, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, joins TODAY with Hoda and Jenna to share her own inspiring story of discovering she had postpartum depression after giving birth to her first child. She also provides signs to look out for and risk factors that may contribute to the condition.
“Many people don’t realize that postpartum depression is more than just depression. It can also happen throughout the pregnancy, and a lot of people present with anxiety, so they just don’t know what to look out for,” says Dr. Vernon. “That’s why it’s so important to talk to your doctor about your physical and emotional symptoms throughout pregnancy so you can get help.”
Dr. Vernon and colleagues within the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology are implementing evidence-based educational curriculum for residents and faculty on PMADs, establishing the Perinatal Mental Health Program. Obstetric patients are offered support groups, counseling, and medication management at the outpatient care center for women’s health and wellness, NYU Langone Ambulatory Care Center at East 53rd Street.
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