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Local OBGYN noticing high rates of postpartum depression during pandemic

Doctors encourage women to seek help
Posted at 6:58 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 16:14:35-04

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — Postpartum depression affects millions of women every year, but doctors at Methodist say the issue has gotten significantly worse during the pandemic.

CDC research shows that nationally about one in eight women experience symptoms of postpartum depression - a type of depression women experience after giving birth. Symptoms include mood swings, crying spells and difficulty bonding with the baby. These feelings can last up to a year after delivery.

"I think one of the things I see in my office is patients are so afraid to say that they have postpartum depression because all their friends are posting on Facebook these cute little pictures and everything is sunshine and roses and it is not sunshine and roses," Methodist Physicians Clinic OBGYN Dr. Lori Platt said.

Dr. Platt says she has seen research that the rates of postpartum depression are dramatically increasing nationwide. She sees a similar trend at her clinic as well.

"The rate of postpartum depression and anxiety prior to the pandemic could range anywhere from 10 to 25 percent at most. Since the pandemic hit that rate has increased to up to 40 percent," she said.

Dr. Platt says the rates are concerning, especially because some women don't want to seek help.

"I've been through postpartum too and it is hard," she said.

Dr. Platt had postpartum with her second child while she had breast cancer. She said what got her through those dark times was family support.

"I think one of the things that Midwesterners are known for is we have excellent family support," she said.

But it's this family support that was taken away during the pandemic, which is why Dr. Platt believes the rates have jumped so high. Lack of family support mixed with isolation and overall pandemic anxiety.

Compared to national numbers, Nebraska does see lower rates of postpartum depression. But no matter the number of cases, women should feel at ease talking about this issue and seeking help. It's a problem more common than people think.