Depression in pregnancy missed28th February 2007
Pregnant women and new mothers are to be targeted by GPs as part of efforts to diagnose depression in its early stages.
New guidance from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has called for doctors and other health professionals to ask women three questions to gauge whether they need support.
This includes if they are bothered by feeling down, depressed or hopeless, have taken little interest or pleasure in doing things and whether they feel they need help. The aim is to spot changes in behaviour which could signal mental health problems.
Those in need of psychological treatment should be seen within a month, with a follow-up within a further three months.
Depression in mothers is known to have a long-term detrimental impact on their children, who perform less well in education.
Around one in seven women suffer ante or post natal depression, but sufferers can be reticent about coming forward and seeking help because they feel guilty or fear they will be ignored.
The guidance says women should be asked regularly about their mental health, and GPs should discuss risks associated with medication if the woman is pregnant or breastfeeding.
The guidance covers a range of illnesses including depression, eating problems, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Separately NICE has also published guidelines on sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancies. It said sexual health had ‘deteriorated significantly’ in the past 10 years with Chlamydia rising 300%, gonorrhoea by 200% and HIV by 300%.
NICE want to see one-to-one counselling sessions for those at risk and healthworkers routinely ask their patients questions about sexual history.
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Title: Depression in pregnancy missed
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 2122
Date Added: 28th Feb 2007