Having a child can be an exciting time for parents and families, but with that new responsibility some birthing parents may experience added stress, worry, or anxious feelings. In Utah, reported incidents of depression during pregnancy are 14.7 percent, which is higher than the national average.
“Most women experience some type of the ‘baby blues’ during or after pregnancy such as fatigue, sadness, worry, or feeling overwhelmed,” said Vicki Alder, perinatal care manager for the Healthy Beginnings Program at SelectHealth. “These feelings are generally very common, but if they persist longer than two weeks it could be a sign of depression or anxiety.”
Some key indicators to look for that can signal signs of peripartum mood disorders include:
“If ignored or left untreated, peripartum mood disorders could negatively impact the ability to care for a newborn or increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or harm for a baby,” said Alder. “It’s important to recognize the signs early and talk to your healthcare provider since symptoms vary for each person.”
To assist birthing parents, SelectHealth - a nonprofit health plan integrated with Intermountain Health – has free resources available through the Healthy Beginnings program that can help during and up to a year after pregnancy.
The Healthy Beginnings program recommends regularly screening for depression during prenatal care visits and after the birth of a child. If peripartum depression or anxiety is identified, caregivers can recommend resources and connect patients to the appropriate provider for treatment options.
The program is covered by SelectHealth plans with no cost for the birthing parent. SelectHealth nurses work with your doctor to promote a safe and healthy pregnancy. The program includes regular check-ins, referrals to mental health and emotional support resources, access to care managers to answer questions and discuss care, and educational materials to learn about pregnancy and newborn care.
To learn more about the SelectHealth, Healthy Beginnings program, visit selecthealth.org or call 1-866-442-5052.