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Managing Your Postpartum Depression - Women's Health

It can be one of the most exciting and challenging times in a mom’s life. “There are a ton of emotional and hormonal changes that happen, and not to mention the physical changes your body is going through and the whole idea of bringing home a new life that you’re supposed to know how to care for,” said Dr. Rachel Wykes, an OB/GYN with Lee Health. Doctors say postpartum depression is very common after labor and delivery, but less than 20 percent of women actually report having symptoms to their doctor. “A lot of moms feel really bad about being depressed. I’m a new mom, I should be happy, I should love this baby,” said Dr. Wykes. It’s important for women to understand that postpartum depression is a medical diagnosis that can be treated. “If they’re feeling dark and depressed like they can’t get out of it, if it’s a constant low if it’s affecting their daily life and their ability to care for their child and care for themselves, then it’s time to intervene. And of course, if there’s any suicidal thoughts or homicidal thoughts that’s a big deal,” Dr. Wykes said. Using a standardized questionnaire, doctors screen women during pregnancy and again after delivery to make sure they aren’t experiencing any symptoms. “We weren’t meant to do this alone. We were meant to do this in a community,” she said, which is why she encourages moms to get involved in social groups and take time for themselves. “Lee has started a new program called the Fourth Trimester Club, which is, I think such an awesome idea, and it’s for moms who have recently delivered in the last couple months to get together and focus on different topics like nutrition, exercise, or lactation,” said Dr. Wykes. Social activities, counseling, even medication can help moms feel better and become more connected with their baby. View More Health Matters video segments at Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit