The importance of postpartum depression screenings

Kimberly Wong, Postpartum Depression Activist, explains why it is important for all women to be screened for perinatal depression during pregnancy and postpartum depression after childbirth
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The importance of postpartum depression screenings

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It is very important for all women be screened for perinatal depression and mood and anxiety disorders during pregnancy, as recommended by the American College of OBGYNs, as well as, The American Academy of Pediatrics. This is, in part, because having depression or anxiety during pregnancy can result in a new mom not taking care of herself, and not being able to pass on the proper nutrients needed to sustain a healthy pregnancy. The consequences can be having low birth weights and having premature birth that are not necessarily going to happen otherwise. After the baby is born, it is critical that new moms be screened for depression because it affects their ability to care for the baby. It will also affect whether the mother feels the baby will be able to breastfeed, which is another important component.

Kimberly Wong, Postpartum Depression Activist, explains why it is important for all women to be screened for perinatal depression during pregnancy and postpartum depression after childbirth

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Kimberly Wong

Postpartum Depression Activist

Kimberly Wong, Founder and Co-Chair of the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, has been an attorney with the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office for 17 years and serves as Special Counsel/Legislative Analyst to the Public Defender. Kimberly co-chairs the Legislative Issues Committee of the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Council and is a member of the Council’s Executive Committee. As a result of suffering life-threatening postpartum depression in 2003, after her recovery, Kimberly focused on volunteer activity to promote awareness and to increase knowledge about maternal depression. She volunteered as a phone support volunteer through Postpartum Support International and then served on the Board of PSI for three years. 

In February 2007, Ms. Wong formed and currently co-chairs the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, a network of over 30 individuals representing more than 15 public and private agencies involved in outreach, screening, and treatment services for perinatal depression and related mood disorders, along with community leaders, research partners, and advocates for mothers, infants, and families. The mission of the Task Force is to create an infrastructure in Los Angeles County to address perinatal mood disorders through education, universal screening and linkage to informed services, with particular focus on high risk women and girls, including those who are court involved, substance abusers and domestic violence victims. The Task Force is a project of Community Partners, its 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor. 

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