Reach out for help if experiencing postpartum depression symptoms

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 5:01 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Nearly nine percent of new moms in Georgia reported experiencing postpartum depression, according to recent data from America Health Rankings.

Savannah mental health experts say that number doesn’t show the whole picture because many women don’t seek the help they need.

“1 in 4 women are experiencing something significant to impact their functioning.”

New moms are often juggling a lot, but postpartum depression can worsen their heavy load. If severe, postpartum can put mom and baby’s life at risk.

“Somebody could be loving being a parent and at the same time be suffering from chemical, biological neurological reasons why their brain is not functioning well,” Mary Jo Horton said.

Horton is the director of the Memorial Behavioral Health Center. She said many women experience concerns with hopelessness, sleeping and their appetite.

Some women are even unable to perceive reality, which is called Postpartum Psychosis.

“They are having really strong feelings and thoughts of not knowing if they can keep themselves safe or their baby self,” Horton said.

Horton says it goes untreated often because some women don’t feel comfortable speaking up.

“It would be much more helpful if we just assumed people had some struggles rather than wait for people to have to say something because by the time someone says something, they could be unsafe,” Horton said.

While she says she sees more postpartum patients than you’d expect, she hope more women come to facilities because that would mean they’re acknowledging they need help. She says loved ones can get ahead of the condition during the pregnancy by making a plan for when baby arrives.

“You know, Tuesdays and Thursdays I’m bringing over dinner and that’s what we’re doing,” Horton said.

She says it’s vital to talk to your doctor when experiencing symptoms and go to the hospital if those intrusive thoughts are severe.

“If that can result in a lifetime of functioning and enjoyment, let’s do it,” Horton said.

To contact the behavioral center for more information, click here.