Hylton I Lightman MD DCH(SA) FAAP

“Dr. Lightman: I’ve brought in my baby for his 2-month well visit and you’re asking me to complete a survey about me. Why am I on the radar screen for today’s visit?”

Mothers – We care about you. We love you. You are the mainstay of our lives and homes. And we know that what you do requires physical, mental and emotional energies at the highest levels. We want to make sure that you are in the best shape to do your important work. Allow me to explain.

In addition to taking care of your baby’s well visits (there are several) during the first year of life, we pediatricians are positioned to make sure that mothers are also healthy. Once your obstetrician discharges from your child’s birth, which is usually when your baby is about 6 weeks old, you don’t see him/her again for a while. However, we see you regularly with your baby. That’s why we ask you to complete the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) at the 1-, 2-, 4- and 6-month well visits. We score them and discuss results with you, Mommy.

Postpartum depression is more common than once previously believed: It’s one of the most common medical complications of childbearing. Some professionals believe that depression, which affects one in seven women, may begin during pregnancy. An independent study conducted by influential health policy decision makers states that treating depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period yields excellent results. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that clinicians screen patients at least once during the perinatal period for depression and anxiety symptoms.

Hence, it’s important to identify Moms who may be suffering from depression or may be at risk and to offer interventions. The pediatrician can then refer Mom to the appropriate behavioral resources.

As the saying goes, “If Mama ain’t happy, then no one is happy.” Let’s work together to make sure mothers are happy and healthy. To children and us all, mothers are the world.

As always, daven.

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