Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Doctors, hospitals take steps to identify, help new moms with postpartum depression

Maritza Hadley, who suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her son, now volunteers with a support group at University Community Hospital, which has created a new program to combat postpartum depression.

ATOYIA DEANS | Times

Maritza Hadley, who suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her son, now volunteers with a support group at University Community Hospital, which has created a new program to combat postpartum depression.

TAMPA

Maritza Hadley bought the audio version of Down Came the Rain, actor Brooke Shields' book on postpartum depression, and felt as though she was listening to her own story.

Hadley, 40, had endured four miscarriages before the birth of her son, Nicholas, in January 2008. She was elated to be a mother and felt fully up to the challenges ahead. But that happiness and confidence soon crumbled.

"My problems started in the second month," after Nicholas was born, she says.

Hadley had been warned that the "baby blues,'' generally a short-lived, mild condition, could strike soon after the birth. But Nicholas was 2 months old and she felt fine.

Then came the Friday night Hadley felt so anxious and depressed, she didn't think she could take care of her baby. Her husband was in a new job and would be training out of town for weeks. So Hadley called her in-laws in Gulfport. "Come over, we're here for you," they told her, and so she did.

A few days later, she told her doctor about her troubling symptoms. She learned she had postpartum depression, a condition that affects up to 20 percent of women at any point up to a year after having a baby, a stillbirth, or miscarriage. In the most extreme cases, women with the condition have harmed themselves or their babies.

Hadley's doctor gave her the antidepressant Zoloft. Eight days passed with no relief. Hadley panicked every time Nicholas cried. She asked not to be left alone with him. At times she couldn't even get out of bed. Then, the medication kicked in and the cloud lifted. "Those were the worst eight days of my life," Hadley says.

Pregnant women are usually asked during prenatal doctor visits or before being discharged from the hospital if they have a history of depression, and if there are problems at home that could cause additional stress. They're also instructed about the symptoms of depression, and told to call their doctors if they notice any.

University Community Hospital in Tampa is taking extra steps to detect postpartum depression and get sufferers the help they need after leaving the hospital.

Since April, moms who deliver at the Women's Center at UCH have been asked to complete a detailed questionnaire to identify patients at high risk for postpartum depression. High-risk moms are seen by a postpartum support specialist before discharge.

Every patient receives printed information on postpartum depression and an oversized plastic mug printed with symptoms and a 24-hour, toll-free number to call for help. In the weeks after leaving the hospital, high-risk women get calls from a UCH registered nurse to see how they're doing emotionally.

The women are also encouraged to attend a free, weekly support group led by a licensed mental health counselor. Called the Mom-to-Mom Connection, the group targets postpartum depression. UCH organizers are applying for grants so they can open the program to the public.

Registered nurse manager June Vinyard was part of a 12-member committee that worked for five years to get the program up and running. Since it was launched in April, Vinyard says, very few women have declined to take the questionnaire. She's already had a call from a doctor's office that reported a new mom called for help because she realized she had the symptoms printed on her UCH mug.

Hadley delivered her son at UCH before the program began, but she's a believer. She volunteers with the support group to help women suffering as she did.

"This is temporary,'' she reassures them. "It's going to go away."

Irene Maher can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3416.

Symptoms of postpartum depression

They can include:

• Lack of interest in baby, family, friends.

• Feeling angry, irritable, anxious.

• Feeling guilty, worthless.

• Feeling hopeless; crying for no reason.

• Sleeping too much.


What causes it?

Most experts believe it's a combination of factors including:

• The dramatic drop in hormones after pregnancy ends.

• Personal or family history of depression.

• Stress of caring for a newborn.

• Other issues at home, such as money, jobs or relationships.


What if you need help?

• Realize the depression is not your fault.

• Call your doctor; ask family and friends for support.

• Postpartum Support International's 24/7 toll-free help line is toll-free 1-800-944-4773. For details: www.postpartum.net.

Doctors, hospitals take steps to identify, help new moms with postpartum depression 06/10/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 11, 2009 4:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mandarin Hide celebrates 7 years serving craft cocktails in St. Petersburg

    Bars & Spirits

    ST. PETERSBURG

    With its mascot, a mounted buffalo head named Manny, decked out in streamers and a shiny party hat, the Mandarin Hide celebrated seven years of serving cocktails on Central Avenue last Thursday night.

    Mandarin Hide’s mascot, a buffalo head named Manny, donned streamers and a shiny party hat as the bar celebrated seven years of serving cocktails last week.
  2. Florida education news: Working conditions, school choice, teacher housing and more

    Blogs

    WORK CONDITIONS: Two teachers at a Pinellas County middle school request transfers out, saying the campus has become "hostile and racially charged." The …

    Pinellas Park Middle School
  3. Forecast: Break out those sweaters, Tampa Bay, as cooler weather just a day away

    Weather

    Tampa Bay residents will finally be able to break out their sweaters and boots this week, but not until enduring yet another humid, rainy day to start the workweek.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'

    Celebrities

    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  5. Here's what happened when 30 high school sophomores gave up their phones for a day

    K12

    LUTZ — They were everywhere at Steinbrenner High School. Teens with panic-stricken faces, furiously slapping one thigh, then the other.

    Grace Hayes, 15, left, and Kai'Rey Lewis, 15, talk and text friends after having a discussion about smartphone technology in Tiffany Southwell's English Literature class at Steinbrenner High last week. Southwell asked theme to give up their phones for a day and write about it. For Lewis, the ride home that day "was the longest bus ride in my life." [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]