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Kristin Davis: Story of a Mom Who Survived PPD

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There's an article that ran recently in The Santa Clarita Valley Signal that I think everyone should read about a mom named Tracy who went through PPD and successfully came out the other side.

Here's an excerpt that I especially found valuable:

Prevention is Key
Since screening for depression is rarely done on pregnant women, knowing your own risk factors and taking care of yourself both before and after your baby is born are key ingredients to avoiding PPD in the first place.

"It's a shame that we screen pregnant women for Down's Syndrome, but we don't screen for depression, even though it's much more common," said Diana Barnes, Psy.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in the assessment and treatment of postpartum illness.

Those at higher risk of developing PPD include women with a personal or family history of PPD or other mood disorders, as well as those who have significant mood changes around their menstrual cycle, and women undergoing fertility treatment.

"If you had one episode of PPD already, the risk of having a subsequent episode during a different pregnancy is 75 percent," Barnes warned. "If you have been treated for depression or anxiety in the past, you are at risk."

Barnes added that if you develop depression while you are still pregnant, like Tracy did, your risk is even higher of being depressed after the baby is born as well.

Though many women have these risk factors, Barnes cautions against panic. Just because you are at risk does not mean you will develop PPD, but being aware of the possibility means that if you do develop it, you will be able to nip it in the bud that much sooner.

"Awareness is key," said Barnes. "Women should educate themselves and their families during their pregnancy."Barnes also encourages women to slow the pace of their lives before and after a baby is born. Don't try to change houses, jobs, or make other major life changes.

"Try to keep things status quo for at least one year postpartum," she said. "Women often put too much stress on themselves around pregnancy time, which is not good.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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