MAYWOOD, Ill. – Loyola University Health System (LUHS) will offer a support group for women with postpartum depression. The group meets from 9-10 a.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at Loyola Center for Health at Oakbrook Terrace located at 1S260 Summit Ave.
“Loyola’s support group provides women suffering from postpartum depression with an outlet to express their feelings and meet others who can relate to their experience,” said Laura De La Pena, RNC, MSN, postpartum depression support group leader.
The group is open to all new mothers and is led by a registered nurse who is trained to help women cope with postpartum depression. Attendees must arrange for childcare for their infants during the session.
Postpartum depression occurs in 15-20 percent of mothers. Symptoms include blues that do not go away and worsen into strong feelings of depression and anger. Women also may express a lack of interest in the baby, a fear of harming the baby and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
While the state of Illinois requires that women be screened once at the time of delivery, LUHS has a more comprehensive program, which mandates that women are screened at 28 weeks, at delivery and at six weeks postpartum.
"Unlike other programs, Loyola's screening protocol requires that we check in with women at several points during and after their pregnancy to detect any risk factors," De La Pena said. "This has allowed us to better identify women at risk and offer care to meet the medical, psychological and emotional needs of our patients."
The standard Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is used to assess risk of postpartum depression. A nurse administers the screening in which the mother is asked to answer 10 short statements about her feelings. If it is determined that the mother is at risk, the nurse then works with the patient's obstetrician to coordinate care with a psychiatry team to develop an individualized plan of support.