The holiday season, while fun and joyous, can be a time that is fraught with extra stress and tension. Throw in a new baby and a parent who is recovering emotionally and physically from giving birth and it is easy to feel overwhelmed and emotionally fragile. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADS) affect approximately one in five pregnant people, one in seven postpartum people and one in ten partners - (who are more vulnerable if their birthing partner has a PMAD). PMADs can occur throughout the year, regardless of the season, but for the northern latitudes, the dark winter season, inhospitable weather for being outside and the stress and expectations of the holidays really can contribute to an already vulnerable situation.
In my childbirth classes, I make sure to talk about prenatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders throughout the class series and every family leaves with resources for screening for mood disorders. My favorite screening tool to share with families is the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) which is simple and easy to use, throughout the childbearing year. I also have a responsibility to share resources for families to get help and support from qualified professionals, support groups and online resources. On the Washington State Perinatal Support website (my local resource) they have two great handouts that anyone would find helpful: Creating a Wellness Plan and Resource and Referral Guide for Dads.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School for Public Health is offering a free webinar tomorrow, November 28th, 2018 from 12-1PM ET. Titled "What happens if she screens positive for postpartum depression? Moving postpartum care from screening to treatment and beyond," this webinar is offered in collaboration with Boston University's Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health. The discussion will center on the programmatic, policy and research requirements to move postpartum mental health care from depression screening to treatment and beyond using the Massachusetts model as a case study. The webinar will be featuring Dr. Nancy Byatt, founder of MCPAP for Moms and Lifeline4Moms, Dr. Deborah Cowley, mental health physician and faculty at the University of Washington Medical School and Boston University's Dr. Emily Feinberg.
You can find out more information and register for the webinar here. Learning more about what happens after parent screens positive for a PMAD can help you hone and refine the information and resources you share with the families you work with. Considering participating in this free online learning opportunity as part of your own continuing education.