The American Academy of Pediatrics has long encouraged doctors to screen for postpartum depression in new moms, but now new research suggests they should also be on the lookout for postpartum anxiety.
The study, just published in the journal Pediatrics, followed more than 1,100 mothers with healthy newborns. All were asked a series of questions during their hospital stay and took part in telephone surveys over a six-month period.
Not surprisingly, the life-changing event of childbirth caused anxiety, and was far more common than depression right after birth. 17% of women experienced postpartum anxiety during their hospital stay compared to 5.5% with depression. Anxiety levels dropped within 2 weeks after delivery but between 5.8 and 7.2% of women were still experiencing symptoms at six-months. The data showed that anxious moms tended to go on more medical visits and stopped breastfeeding earlier.
Bottom line, according to the researchers, new moms, especially first time mothers, should be on the lookout for anxiety, and reach out for help if the problem persists.
I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the latest breakthroughs from the world of medicine.