Postpartum depression on the rise during the pandemic

How to treat and recognize the signs
Pregnant woman
Posted at 6:41 AM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 01:31:14-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Some call it the baby blues; however, in some cases, the situation might be more serious. Stephanie Andre is a therapist with CODAC, she says more women are seeking treatment for issues like overwhelming feelings of sadness and failure.

“You might be struggling with sleep or irritability for maybe two to three weeks. We call that the baby blues that's pretty normal. But if symptoms extend past that and becomes more intense after three weeks that's when we call it postpartum depression,” Andre said.

According to the CDC, 1 in 8 new mothers report having some degree of depression after birth. Sleeping and eating excessively or not enough, is also a red flag to look out for.

"Feelings of sadness about becoming a mother. Anger and irritability towards a partner or family member you felt is not being helpful enough with the baby or helpful enough to you. Rates also increase for parents of multiples,” Andre said.

If you combine those issues with the COVID-19 pandemic, it can make life even more difficult for new mothers. It’s not just about hormones, environmental and past mental issues can be a factor. If left untreated symptoms can last from 1 to 5 years.

“During COVID we’ve seen the rates skyrocket from about 15 percent of women experiencing postpartum depression to 30 or more percent according to a recent Harvard survey which is an astounding number,” Andre said.

Experts say isolation from the pandemic is also adding to the problem but having a good support system is the best way to make it through the process.

"Women don’t have help from family and friends like they usually would because of COVID. The other thing is worries about access to medical care for yourself and your baby,” Andre said.

CODAC has weekly group meetings and therapy via zoom and medication options available for moms to help them share and cope with their feelings about motherhood.

"Talking about the symptoms can feel kind of scary, because sometimes the depressed or anxious thoughts are like “What if I hurt my baby?” which is a terrifying thing to think about but it's also really common so we shouldn't fear those scary thoughts,” Andre said.

Below include links to get help: