New findings contradict the longstanding view that symptoms begin only within a few weeks after childbirth. In fact, depression often begins during pregnancy and can develop any time in the first year after a baby is born. Recent studies also show that the range of disorders women face is wider than previously thought.
Studies indicate that maternal stress may undermine women’s ability to bond with or care for their children, and that children’s emotional and cognitive health may suffer as a result. Depression and anxiety can impact children from birth into adolescence and beyond, affecting:
- Birth outcomes (poor nutrition, preterm birth, low birth weight, spontaneous abortion)
- Cognitive development and behavioral challenges in infancy, toddler, and school age children
- Academic problems in adolescence
Vermont Maternal Depression Work Group
In December 2013, the Vermont Department of Health, Division of Maternal and Child Health convened a statewide maternal depression work group. After a series of brainstorming sessions, a needs assessment survey and review of other state strategies, the work group arrived at the following recommendations:
- Increase capacity of Vermont’s health care providers to educate, screen, diagnose, and treat maternal depression and anxiety
- Increase capacity of Vermont’s mental health providers to diagnose, and treat maternal depression and anxiety
- Identify and support innovative financing options to support the screening, diagnosis, and treatment
- Develop materials to educate and inform the general public about maternal depression and anxiety
See a summary and recommendations from Vermont’s maternal depression work group.
See a summary of current activities of Vermont’s maternal depression work group.
If you a health care, mental health, or community provider and are seeking consultation and education regarding maternal depression, we encourage you to contact the Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Consultation Service at the University of Vermont Medical Center. For more information, see the Perinatal Mood and Anxiety brochure, call (802) 847-4758 or email Sandra.Wood@UVMHealth.org.
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