How do I deal with a patient who has postpartum depression?

Childbirth can be a physically rough experience for mothers, but mothers have more than just physical difficulties to contend with. Some mothers have to deal with an emotional condition called postpartum depression. This depression goes far beyond simple sadness and can lead to erratic behavior such as violence and suicide.

As a nurse, here are a few things that you can do to aid a mother who is suffering from this condition.

1. Let the patient know that it’s okay to seek treatment for her condition. Assure her that she isn’t “crazy” for having these feelings. But let her know she should get treatment for this very real illness.

2. Make her aware of the treatments available. There are a variety of options: medications that don’t affect breastfeeding, acupuncture, support groups and counseling.

3. Don’t hesitate to tell a physician about the patient’s condition. If the patient is unwilling to seek help, make the attending physician aware of the situation in that this illness can be devastating if uncontrolled and severe.

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