OSDH Reminds New Parents it is Okay to Ask for Help
OKLAHOMA CITY – According to the CDC 1 in 8 women experience postpartum depression, which is just one component of perinatal mental health.
Perinatal depression, a mood disorder that affects women during pregnancy and after childbirth, is the most common complication of childbearing. From the beginning of pregnancy to even a year after a new baby is born, research has shown that both parents can experience depression, anxiety, obsessive thoughts and compulsions, and other related symptoms.
Whether these symptoms are mild, moderate, or more severe they are very common with 15 percent of mothers reporting them, and 10 percent of fathers.
“In each case, education, support, and treatment is available so that new parents can be the best parents they can be,” said Joyce Marshall, the OSDH Maternal and Child Health director. “Mental health is no different than physical health, in that when it is necessary to seek treatment, it is imperative to get help.”
The best way for new parents to reduce the risk of developing symptoms of perinatal mental health concerns is to prepare and think through a plan for after their new baby is born.
Plans can include:
- Determining if as new parents you want visitors following the baby’s birth?
- Clarifying the role of each parent during night feedings. If mom is breastfeeding, how will her partner support her in making sure the baby is back in her sleep space safely?
- Organizing ongoing “check-ins” from your friends, family, faith or found-family to make sure not only is the new baby doing well, but checking on the mental health of both parents.
Click here for OSDH’s easy-to-use, fillable template to create a postpartum plan.
Although you can reduce the risk for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, which includes diagnoses like Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Postpartum Psychosis, they cannot be eliminated, and parents may find themselves impacted by these mental health concerns.
OSDH works with partners such as the Oklahoma Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative (OPQIC) to host a list of providers specifically trained in perinatal mental health so that families and referring physicians have resources to share. You can find the list of providers trained in perinatal mental health at https://opqic.org/forpatients/patient-resources.
Along with local providers, there is now a national maternal mental health hotline staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by mental health professionals which can be reached by texting or calling 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746).
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) protects and improves public health through its system of local health services and strategies focused on preventing disease. OSDH provides technical support and guidance to 68 county health departments in Oklahoma, as well as guidance and consultation to the two independent city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Learn more at Oklahoma.gov/health.