Although pregnancy can be an exciting time for many moms, the days and weeks after baby’s arrival can prove to be a very emotional time. Lack of sleep, adapting to a newborn’s needs, and balancing baby’s needs with that of her own and her family’s can make any mom feel overwhelmed, anxious or depressed.
With this in mind, Main Line Health hospitals have set out to educate and check-in with mothers about the emotional support they may require in the days ahead after a newborn arrives.
“As part of an initiative being taken across the country to assist women in meeting their physical and emotional needs after childbirth, we have begun administering the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale screening tool to all moms during their hospital stay,” says Liz Bland, LCSW, Program Manager for the Women’s Emotional Wellness Center (WEWC) at Main Line Health Newtown Square.
Since March 2013, all four Main Line Health hospitals—Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr, Paoli, and Riddle hospitals—have administered the screening tool to women on the first day of their postpartum stay to identify whether or not additional emotional support is necessary.
The screening, which includes 10 questions, refers to a mother’s emotional wellbeing, and provides maternity staff with a better idea as to whether or not a mother requires additional support while in the hospital and post-discharge.
Should moms require additional support, hospital social workers provide resources, and each patient is offered a supportive telephone call from the WEWC following discharge. During this phone call, a counselor from the WEWC helps each woman identify any resources that would benefit her and, if necessary, can set up a follow-up appointment with a therapist at the WEWC.
“By administering the Edinburgh tool in the hospital, we hope to be able to better educate women about the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression as well as provide women and their families with the resources they may need,” says Bland. “We don't want women to suffer in silence. Providing education and talking about the issue is key to empowering women to ask for help if the need arises.”
How do you know if your emotions are the 'baby blues' or something more serious? Bland explains what symptoms to look out for to know when to seek support.
The WEWC provides outpatient therapy and psychiatric services for women and their families, specializing in the perinatal period: before, during and after pregnancy. The center also provides support for fathers, grandfathers and other caregivers seeking support.