UNC Offers A Specific Inpatient Until For Moms With Postpartum Depression. Keep Reading For More Information.
I came across an article in Parentingthe other day about an inpatient unit for women experiencing perinatal mood disorders, which include prenatal and postpartum depression. The article in Parenting, written by Bonnie Rochman, shares the story of a 28-year-old North Caroline mom who became so depressed after having her baby that she wasn't eating, wasn't sleeping and was throwing up. When she began having suicidal thoughts, her OBGYN referred her to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There, she was admitted to a six-bed facility for women suffering from perinatal mood disorders. According to Parenting, the unit offered:
- A core group of doctors specializing in perinatal issues
- Psychiatrists attuned to medications that wouldn't harm a pregnancy or a nursing newborn
- An unusual policy of allowing children, even babies, on the ward during extended visiting hours
- Mom-only counseling focused on anxiety and bonding.
This type of in-patient care is different than general inpatient care. Here, patients are allowed to have visits from their children, the noise level is lower, all but one of the rooms is private and they are nicely decorated. The women act as support for each other versus being isolated as one of the only ones with PPD in a general in-patient facility. The founder of the program has received calls of interest from all over the country and other hospitals are looking at the model. Although I'd venture to guess that nobody wants to spend any time at an inpatient psychiatric unit, I think having one specifically designed for women suffering from postpartum depression is a wonderful thing. PPD is a very real and very serious condition. According to Mayo Clinic, the following are signs of postpartum depression:
- Loss of appetite
- Intense irritability and anger
- Overwhelming fatigue
- Loss of interest in sex
- Lack of joy in life
- Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Severe mood swing
- Difficulty bonding with the baby
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby
If you are concerned that you are depressed after becoming a parent, please speak to your doctor.