Perinatal and postpartum depression (PPD) remain highly underdiagnosed in the United States, with an estimated 10 to 20 percent of women developing PPD in the first six months after having a baby (Seehusen, et al; Are Family Physicians Appropriately Screening for Postpartum Depression?; Journal of the American Board of Family Practice; March 2005 ). Studies show that women who have had a previous episode of PPD are 25 percent more likely to suffer from the ailment in subsequent pregnancies and births. Furthermore, fathers and other children in the family are more likely to suffer from depression if the mother has PPD.

Understanding the risk factors, how to diagnose PPD, the levels and effects of the ailment, and how to treat PPD are keys to better treating the patient.

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