Graduate Publications and Other Selected Works - Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

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The birth of a baby can bring about an array of powerful emotions that range from joy and excitement to feelings of anxiety, worry, and depression. A majority of mothers experience postpartum baby blues which normally begins 2-3 days after delivery and can last for up to 2-3 weeks, but some mothers experience a more severe form known as postpartum depression (PPD). PPD can be mistaken for baby blues at first, but the signs and symptoms do not diminish and can continue to worsen. Postpartum depression signs and symptoms include withdrawing from friends and family, severe mood swings, excessive crying, increased or decreased appetite, loss of interest or pleasure in doing things, and difficulty bonding or making a connection with the newborn (Mayo Clinic, 2022). PPD can also lead to suicidal ideation as well as thoughts of harming the infant. If left untreated, this can increase the baby’s risk for developmental delays and impaired social development.

Given the effects that PPD can have on the mother and infant, it is vital that this diagnosis is caught and treated early, but unfortunately there are women who miss their postpartum follow-up appointment with their obstetrician. The American Academy of Pediatrics recognized this gap in missed diagnoses and recommended that pediatric providers screen for maternal PPD at the 1, 2, 4, and 6- month well-child visits (Morehead, 2020). The two project sites do not follow this recommendation, so an educational PowerPoint focusing on the epidemiology of PPD, validated screening tools, and the significance of PPD was presented to the pediatric providers and data from the pre-test and post-test survey were analyzed. Although not statistically significant, the educational intervention had an impact on their knowledge relating to postpartum depression.

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