Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tired postpartum? Could be depression.

A Professor of Nursing at the Ohio State University has found that persistent fatigue is a more accurate predictor of postpartum depression than other often-used flags such as a history of depression or current stress levels. This raises the chicken and egg question: Are women fatigued because of some unique chemistry or physiology that predestines them for depression? Or is their depression brought on or exacerbated by being unusually fatigued?

If it is the latter, then the case for postpartum doulas is strengthened. Doulas can help in immediate ways, doing chores and providing care that permits the mother to rest, as well as in longer-term way, such as strategizing with a family how to rework routines so there is more time for recovery.

Incidentally, the researcher's article was published in the Journal of Obstetricl, Gynecological and Neonatal Nursing. What a find! It has free access to articles on line and contains a treasure trove of research for those of us interested in the care of pregnant and post-gravid women and newborns. Expect me to post on its contents in the future.

1 Comments:

Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Yup, I agree. Fatigue is often overlooked as a signifier of depression. In my line of work, it is a tell tale sign.

Have a great weekend,
Deb

9:34 AM  

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