Entries in Postpartum Depression (9)


Stars Open Up About Postpartum Depression

VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Vanessa Lachey welcomed a baby boy, Camden, with husband Nick Lachey last September, and now the TV personality admits that she dealt with postpartum depression after his birth.

In a new blog entry on her website, Lachey said the pressure to be the perfect mother caused a downward spiral.  During week two of caring for baby Camden, Vanessa said she became "undone."

"At this point, I was sick of feeling like a milk machine," the 32-year-old wrote.  "I loved my bonding time with Camden. ... But also there were times when he was crying of hunger. ... Then when Camden was done eating, I wasn't able to lay and cuddle with him."

"I had to give him back to all the well-wishers who wanted to hold him and love him, and I sat and waited for the next feeding, where I would do it all again," she added.

Vanessa said that despite her husband Nick's support, she felt alone.

"I started crying.  I was feeding Camden and crying my eyes out.  I felt like I had officially come undone," Vanessa wrote.

After handing off the baby to her husband, Vanessa took a ride around the block, stopped by Starbucks and finally came home to shower and gather herself.  Then, she apologized to Nick.

"I was sorry for the weeks of losing myself.  I was sorry for the weeks to come when I won't be myself, and I am sorry I can't do it all like I thought I could," she wrote.

But she isn't the first Hollywood mom to open up about postpartum depression.

Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields is perhaps the most outspoken celebrity on postpartum.  In 2007, she opened up to ABC News about her depression after giving birth to her first daughter in 2003.

"We are taught that being a mother and becoming a mother is the most glorious thing you could ever do.  It's the most natural thing," she said.  "If you don't do this beautifully, then you are wrong.  You know, you're not a good mother.  You're not a good woman."

In order to shed light on the illness and her struggle, Shields, 47, wrote a book titled, Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow opened up about her postpartum depression in one of her weekly GOOP newsletters on her website that she created to "share all of life's positives."

"When my son, Moses, came into the world in 2006, I expected to have another period of euphoria following his birth, much the way I had when my daughter was born two years earlier," the now-40-year-old wrote on her website.  "Instead, I was confronted with one of the darkest and most painfully debilitating chapters of my life.  For about five months, I had what I can see in hindsight as postnatal depression, and since that time, I have wanted to know more about it.  Not only from a hormonal and scientific standpoint, and why so many of us experience it, but from the perspective of other women who have gone through it."

Bryce Dallas Howard

The Help star Bryce Dallas Howard saw Paltrow as an example and shared her story about suffering from postpartum depression.  The 32-year-old actress wrote on Paltrow's site that she "treasured every moment I had with this new life growing inside me," even in the last month of her pregnancy when she tipped "the scale at over 200 pounds."  Then, when Howard gave birth, she said, she "felt nothing."  But through the experience, she learned "never be afraid to ask for help."

Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette said last August that she's always there for her son, Ever, whenever he needs her.  But she revealed she suffered "baby blues," an intense struggle with postpartum depression after he was born.

When ABC's Good Morning America's Lara Spencer asked Morissette why she felt the need to share about this, she said, "I didn't feel the need the share.  It just was part of the autobiographical transparency value that I have.  I really think transparency really levels the playing field for all of us and renders our humanness OK.  It was just a really intense time and, if I could share anything with anyone who's going through it, it would be to encourage them to seek help and reach out a little earlier than I did."

Courteney Cox

Actress Courteney Cox revealed that she suffered from postpartum depression after giving birth to daughter Coco in 2004.  Cox, 48, told USA Today that she did not see immediate effects from the depression.

"I went through a really hard time -- not right after the baby, but when [Coco] turned 6 months, I couldn't sleep," she said.  "My heart was racing.  And I got really depressed.  I went to the doctor and found out my hormones had been pummeled."

Carnie Wilson

Singer and The Newlywed Game host Carnie Wilson gave birth to a baby girl, Lola Sofia, in 2005, but after she gave birth, she told People magazine, "I cried all day over everything."  For Wilson, 44, postpartum gave her the feeling of fear.

"You're so afraid you're going to fail this baby," she said.  "What if you drop her or hurt her?  She's totally dependent on you and it's scary."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Study Finds Postpartum Anxiety More Common than Depression

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many mothers are screened for depression after giving birth, but a new study shows that postpartum anxiety is even more common in the days and months following delivery.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, followed 1,132 U.S. women who gave birth between 2006 and 2009. The women were surveyed immediately after birth and followed for six months.

Seventeen percent of mothers had postpartum anxiety, according to the study. Most of the cases of postpartum anxiety discovered in the study were in first-time mothers or mothers who gave birth via Cesarean delivery.

Two weeks after delivery, the study found that anxiety levels dropped drastically. However, postpartum anxiety was linked with reduced duration of breastfeeding and increased use of health care.

While screening for postpartum depression is common, given the higher rate of postpartum anxiety, the study calls for wider screening for the mental impact of delivery on mothers.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mother's Depression Linked to Child's Shorter Height

iStockphoto/Thinsktock(BALTIMORE) -- Mothers who report having symptoms of depression in the first year after giving birth may be likely to have shorter children, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md., looked at height data for more than 6,500 children during pre-school and kindergarten. They found that kids around age four with mothers who reported having mild or moderate depression during their child's infancy were more than 40 percent more likely to have children with short stature compared to mothers who did not report depressive symptoms.

The study suggests that a link between the mother's depression and the child's height persists several years after the mother's reported depression, according to Pamela Surkan, an assistant professor of public health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and lead author of the study.

However, for some kids the stunted growth didn't last. The short stature only persisted through age 5 in those with moderate depression, according to the study.

While the study does not indicate when the symptoms of depression began for the women or for how long the symptoms persisted, it's likely that in order for the depression to have affected the child, the mother may have been depressed for months, according to Dr. Kenneth Robbins, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, who was not associated with the study.

While the study did not mention what may have caused the link between postpartum depression and stunted growth, Robbins listed a few theories. One reason may be that some children may also be depressed, which can affect the endocrine system and could disrupt the growth hormone, he said.

The study did not confirm that the women were clinically diagnosed with postpartum depression. However, Surkan said it's likely that the numbers may be similar for children whose mothers had a clinical diagnosis.

"There's already very good reasons that mothers who are depressed should seek treatment," said Surkan. "This is one more additional piece of evidence confirming that this is important."

The study also did not track whether the children of even moderately depressed mothers eventually catch up in height after age five.

Nearly 1 out of every 5 mothers in the U.S. has postpartum depression, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Previous studies suggest that postpartum depression is associated with poor fetal growth, language and cognitive delays, and behavioral problems in children, as well as difficulty in mother-child bonding.

"These children already start with a great disadvantage," said Robbins. "What we're seeing is that there's not simply a psychological effect, there's also a physical effect involved here."

Prevention, early detection, and treatment of a mother's depressive symptoms during the first year after giving birth may also prevent delayed growth as well as other developmental and behavioral problems in children, according to Dr. Deanna Robb, director of the parenting program at Beaumont Hospitals in Royal Oak, Mich.

"Because of research, we've learned so much more and we know the value of early identification to make sure we can identify as soon as possible," said Robb.

In some cases, mothers cannot identify symptoms of depression within themselves, so it is up to physicians to make sure women are properly screened. Even after depression is identified, the diagnosis itself makes it difficult for women to seek help, some experts said. But timely care is essential in protecting the family's health, according to experts.

"The hopelessness of depression often leads people not to seek the care that they need," said Robbins. "If [mothers] can make the connection that this is not just affecting them but also affecting their family, it may become motivation to get the proper treatment."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Postpartum Blues Made Me Violent, Says Broadway Producer

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock (file photo)(NEW YORK) -- Eric Nederlander, a Broadway producer with a history of disputes with the women in his life, claims that postpartum depression caused him to act violently against his wife.

Lindsey Kupferman, his second wife, got a restraining order against him for violent behavior in 2008, and he claims in divorce papers obtained by The New York Post that he suffered from the baby blues after the birth of their daughter Mira.

Nederlander, 46, allegedly threatened to "smash" Kupferman's face when she was nursing their 1-month-old daughter and tore apart baby announcements after raging over credit card bills, the newspaper reports.

Later, he explained his actions in an e-mail to Kupferman, saying "male post-partum depression is probably something I'm going through," according to the documents obtained by the Post.

Male postpartum depression is "absolutely a legitimate condition -- there is no doubt about that," said psychologist Will Courtenay of Oakland, Calif., who is known as "The Men's Doc."

But, he warned, it is no excuse for violence -- in fact, he said, men already prone to outbursts are at greater risk for postpartum depression.

The blues can come out in irritability and anger, as well as physical aggression and lack of impulse control, according to Courtenay.

"A lot of men don't act on it, but have fears of hurting their babies or partners," he said.  "Some men do act on those feelings."

Kupferman, who is a psychologist, filed for divorce at the end of 2007, according to her lawyer at the time, Robert G. Smith.

Smith told ABC News that he was "unauthorized" to speak about the case, but confirmed that Nederlander had been accused of domestic violence and the divorce is still pending.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


First US Postpartum Depression Clinic Opens in North Carolina

Photodisc/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- The dread and sadness felt by some new mothers is usually diagnosed as postpartum depression.  It can not only paralyze a woman, but endanger the life of her newborn.

To that end, the University of North Carolina hospital in Chapel Hill has opened the first U.S. free-standing perinatal psychiatry unit designed to care for women suffering from postpartum depression.

UNC's Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program offers those diagnosed with the condition both individual and family therapy sessions since fathers can also be prone to depression with the arrival of a new child.

Mothers who are hospitalized can continue breastfeeding and pumping milk and visit their infants so as to establish a routine that can be used once they are released from care.

While the program at UNC is brand new, it has already gotten a huge response from other medical personnel across the country who are asking how they too can start specialized clinics to treat mothers with postpartum depression.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Placenta Pills May Help Postpartum Depression

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Mother of three Tamara Guida believes that women should eat their own placenta because the nutrient-packed organ that feeds the fetus is rich in nutritional and hormonal properties. Guida says consuming the placenta helps women recover from pregnancy and even prevents postpartum depression.

She says that she tried with her second child and had a better recovery than her first.

Her belief turned into a thriving business, known as Fruit of the Womb. For $225, Guida creates the placenta pill for other women in the Denver area. According to her website, Guida's service begins when she travels to the hospital to pick up the new mom's placenta. She will then steam it, dry it, encapsulate it and return the afterbirth pill to the new mom within a couple days. Guida estimates 100 customers have paid for her service in the past two years.

On her website, a disclaimer reveals there is no data to support placenta pills as a way to prevent or treat postpartum blues or depression. It is not FDA approved.

Research has shown that the afterbirth is indeed a nutrient-packed pouch, but there is no hard evidence that humans benefit from consuming it. While some animals eat their placentas to get nutrition, experts say there is no strong need for people to eat it because humans are already well nourished. But even without the science to back it up, the afterbirth is still coveted in certain cultures. In traditional Chinese medicine, human placenta, or zihéche, is dried and used to treat several conditions, including infertility and impotence.

"There is certainly a potential medicinal use," said Dr. David Katz, founder of the Yale Prevention Center. "This is a time-honored cultural practice of eating the placenta. It is nutrient-rich and a source of hormones. Those hormones essentially maintain the emotional state during pregnancy."

Some research suggests that consuming certain vitamins, like mood stabilizing Omega-3s and B-Complex, after giving birth also staves off baby blues. Katz said some people may believe the placenta acts in the same way.

Most hospitals allow a woman to take home her placenta, as long as she tells doctors what she wants to do with it in order to preserve it properly. But many experts said it's misleading to market the placenta as a treatment and prevention of postpartum depression, a condition that can become severe enough that psychiatric and clinical intervention is necessary.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Post-Partum Depression May Be Linked to Oxytocin Levels

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BASEL, Switzerland) -- Oxytocin has been known to serve several functions in women, including roles in pregnancy, labor, and breastfeeding.  Now, a new study released Wednesday finds that the hormone may also be associated with emotional processing.

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland found that women with lower levels of oxytocin in their blood during the last three months of pregnancy were more likely to experience symptoms of post-partum depression two weeks after giving birth than women with higher blood levels of the hormone.

Despite their finding, the researchers point out that their study, which was published in Neuropsychopharmacology, can’t determine whether lower oxytocin levels actually directly contribute to post-partum depression.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pediatricians to Screen for Postpartum Depression

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new American Academy of Pediatrics effort will see pediatricians doing more screening for postpartum depression in mothers of their tiny patients.  Pediatricians already do postnatal screenings but the Academy says more screening is needed as a newborn grows.

Many pediatricians find that inadequate follow-up time, incomplete training in diagnosing the potentially tragic depression, and lack of reimbursement serve as barriers to proper screening.  The authors of a new study say awareness of postpartum depression is essential to healthy child development.

The study suggests pediatricians use an already established list of questions at the 1, 2, 4 and 6 month visits, and offer support strategies and referrals if the mother of one of their patients shows signs of depression. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Researchers Say Fish Oil Pills Are No Help During Pregnancy

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Researchers say that taking fish oil supplements during pregnancy won't boost a baby's brain development or prevent postpartum depression for mothers, according to MedPage Today.

Maria Makrides of the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide, Australia told MedPage that "overall cognitive scores were nearly identical and language scores tended to be lower in children exposed to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-rich fish oil during gestation than scores in controls."

For new mothers, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported there is "no significant difference in the prevalence of depressive symptoms in the first six months postpartum between women who took the fish oil pills and those who didn't."

Dr. Emily Oken of Harvard and Dr. Mandy B. Belfort of Children's Hospital Boston both agree that eating fish may be better than taking a supplement, citing evidence that "points to lower postpartum depression risk and better neurodevelopment with dietary consumption of fish in pregnancy" in comparison to fish oil supplements, MedPage reports.

"It may be that the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish are more bioactive or that other beneficial nutrients within fish, such as selenium, vitamin D, and iodine, are also important," they wrote in JAMA.

However, Oken and Belfort recommend that "for now, women should continue to aim for the recommended daily intake of DHA through low-mercury, high-DHA fish intake or supplements," MedPage says.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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