Doctors, nurses could diagnose postpartum depression sooner

VIDEO: Assessment could diagnose postpartum depression sooner

TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa family nurse practitioner says she thinks doctors and nurses could start diagnosing postpartum depression sooner than before.

Charlon Orr, a recent graduate from the University of Tulsa, completed a research project earlier this year at St. Francis Hospital. For her research, she assessed women hours after delivery using the Edinburgh Perinatal scale to determine if they are at risk for postpartum depression.

Orr’s research found four of 32 women scored 10 or higher, meaning they were at high-risk, and matching the national average of 12.5 percent.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in every eight women in the U.S. -- and one in every seven women in Oklahoma -- report symptoms of depression after giving birth. One in five women weren’t asked about depression during a prenatal visit, and more than half of pregnant women with depression are not treated.

In 2019, Senate Bill 419 took effect, which requires Oklahoma hospitals and doctors to educate women about postpartum depression, and screen women at prenatal and postnatal visits.

Orr says she thinks if hospitals start using the Edinburgh scale in the days after delivery, they could help more women by making sure those who are at risk are connected with resources before they leave the hospital.

Anyone can call the Postpartum Support line at 1-800-944-4PPD and talk with mothers who’ve recovered from postpartum depression.