There’s a lot going on in the news right now about screening for Postpartum Depression – which always perks up my ears and gets my attention.

If you didn’t hear, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has released its recommendations for 2016, and for the first time, it’s recommending that physicians screen all pregnant women and new mothers for depression. This is a huge development!

While I haven’t read every article about this U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation, and I can’t speak to every opinion or stance on the subject, here’s mine:

I believe Postpartum Depression screening is crucial!

It is a very real illness that affects 1 in 7 women (I believe this number is actually light), and it’s more common than breast cancer. Not many people are aware of that statistic!

Ever since I discovered this (the hard way), I have fought hard to share this important information. It’s a life-threatening disease that affects millions each year, and it troubles me deeply that it is not something every OBGYN and pediatrician looks for as a matter of routine.

PPD doesn’t just affect the mom going through it, it affects every single one of her relationships – including the development of her babies and children. Pregnant women should be screened for depression, just, in the same way, they are screened for gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. The trouble is, there’s no single blood test for depression, which makes it difficult to diagnose (but that much more important).

I could go on and on about the importance of screening, talk about symptoms and treatment options… but today, I am happy to know that I can relax a little bit. This task force has done something important by making PPD an official part of its guidelines. Because of that, I know more women will get the help they need to recover.

Although I’m not a licensed therapist or medical professional, I am a survivor. I may not know everything there is to know about PPD, but what I do know, I share – because the more people who know about it, the better off we all are. Especially mothers.

So please, share this news with everyone – with your friends, your family, your doctor. In this case, it can truly save lives.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Postpartum Depression, I invite you to check out this free guide to starting the conversation: sheets

With Love and Mom Hugs,
Pamela Zimmer

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