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      Getting through Postpartum Depression

      Dr. Andrea Mcswain from Mercy OB/GYN Partners knows the emotional difficulties that many women face after having a baby. When a baby finally arrives, it can be an overwhelming feeling of joy and love but it can also be very stressful.

      Sometimes those feelings and emotional changes in a woman can cause her to feel sad or detatched from her new baby or family. Doctors say feelings of depression after having a baby are so common, up to 80% of women experience at least some symptoms.

      Weeks after giving birth, women may get the Baby Blues. It is the most common reaction after having a baby. Fifteen to 20% of women experience the more significant symptoms of Postpartum Depression like mood changes and anxiety. Less than 1% of women react with the more severe Postpartum Psychosis. These symptoms can leave a mom feeling helpless or isolated.

      All women are screened at the hospital with a simple test to see how they're feeling after giving birth and they're screened again at future doctor appointments. But the first step in dealing with Postpartum Depression is telling someone you need help.

      Family members and a doctor can help build a support system for mothers struggling with depression. Mercy Hospital Cadillac even has a program called "Baby Steps" for helping women connect with other mothers for support. If necessary a doctor can even prescribe a medication.

      "They need to know that you can come for help without concern that you'll be deemed a bad parent," Mcswain said.

      Doctors say moms don't have to do it all alone and its OK to have help taking care of a baby, so mom can take care of herself. Dr. Mcswain offers encouraging words to all women facing all the new adventures that come with having a baby.

      For more information on Mercy Hospital Cadillac or the Baby Steps program, visit their website and click on the Women and Children link on the left.