To physicians and other healthcare practitioners:
If you are not asking these questions of each pregnant and postpartum patient, you do not know how she is feeling.
- Have you had postpartum depression or anxiety before?
- Do you have a history of depression or anxiety?
- Are you able to sleep when your baby sleeps?
- Do you notice any changes in your appetite?
- Do you feel like you are worrying excessively? or your thoughts are racing?
- Are you experiencing anxiety or panic?
- Are you afraid to be alone with your baby?
- Do you feel more irritable or angry than usual?
- Are you worried about the way you feel right now?
- What worries you the most about the way you feel?
- Are you afraid you might lose control?
- Are you having any thoughts that are scaring you?
- Do you wonder if you are or will be a bad mother?
- If you are breastfeeding, how important is that to you? How is that going?
- Do you ever have thoughts about hurting yourself?
- Do you find it hard to make decisions?
- Does your partner know how you are feeling?
- How do you feel about taking medication if it helps you feel better?
- Are there other stressful events that are impacting the way you feel?
- Is there anything you are afraid to tell me, but think I should know?
Tips for professional and family support:
- Do not assume that if she looks good, she is fine.
- Do not tell her it’s normal to feel this way after having a baby.
- Do not assume this will get better on its own.
- Do encourage her to get a comprehensive evaluation.
- Do take her concerns seriously.
- Do let her know you are there if she needs you.