Help closer to home coming soon for depressed new mothers

Mark Brooky • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:01 AM

“Many women don’t recognize the signs, don’t know how to get help — or worse, (they) think it is their duty to just ‘soldier’ through it,” said Megan Auffrey-Zambiasi, manager of Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Service’s Grand Haven clinic. “And having to drive to another city for counseling, while juggling the responsibilities of a new baby, can be a big deterrent to getting help.”

The first Postpartum Adjustment Group for the Lakeshore area is a partnership between North Ottawa Community Health System and Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. It begin meeting next month at North Ottawa Community Hospital, 1309 Sheldon Road.

Until now, the only postpartum support groups in West Michigan were in the Grand Rapids area and southern Ottawa County.

“There is a tremendous need for local support,” said Danielle Felty, a nurse and director of the Family Birthing Center at North Ottawa Community Hospital. “Bringing a child into this world — whether your first or he/she is part of a growing family — is a challenging process. A mom goes through significant emotional and physical adjustments at a time when her body is least equipped to handle it. The surge of hormones needed during pregnancy suddenly stops after the baby is born, causing imbalance. That, in addition to the effects of sleep deprivation, can trigger depression in many women.”

The Pine Rest Grand Haven Clinic Postpartum Adjustment Group will meet twice each month, beginning Aug. 11. Meetings will take place from 10-11:30 a.m. on the second Thursday of the month and from 7-8:30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month.

There is no cost to participate in the group, which will be facilitated by the staff of the Pine Rest clinics in Grand Haven and Muskegon, in cooperation with NOCHS.

For more information about the group, visit www.noch.org or call 847-5512.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Here are some statistical figures related to postpartum depression, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• The prevalence of self-reported postpartum depression in the U.S. varies from 11.7 percent to 20.4 percent of new mothers.

• The level of postpartum depression is comparatively higher for women with certain conditions like teenage pregnancy, less or not adequately literate mothers, victims of some type of physical abuse, mothers with a smoking habit and poor financial status.

• Mothers with a low-birthweight baby are also more easily stricken with postpartum depression.

• Postpartum depression increases by age.

• Black women experience the highest level of postpartum depression, in comparison to white and other races.

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