From the moment a child is born, a mother's life is forever changed. The most significant changes occur in priorities and demands on time, and it is not unusual for new moms to feel overwhelmed.
Mary Lynn Brassil, MS, CES, C-EFM, RN, NYU Winthrop Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist and Chair of the Nassau County Perinatal Services Network (second from left), is joined by Sonia Murdock, Executive Director of the Postpartum Resource Center of New York, Inc. (left) and two mothers who shared their personal experiences coping with Perinatal Mood Disorders during a recent forum at NYU Winthrop.
Many women aren't prepared for the range of emotions they experience after child-birth. In fact, bouts of crying and irritability, along with lapses in concentration and exhaustion often referred to as the "baby blues" are quite common, affecting 80 percent of new mothers. But for many women, (1 out of 5), these feelings and others can grow increasingly intense, developing into something they may not have planned for Perinatal Mood Disorders (PMD).
In a collaborative effort to increase awareness about the wealth of resources that are available to families affected by PMD, NYU Winthrop Hospital , as part of its involvement in the Nassau County Perinatal Services Network, chaired by NYU Winthrop's Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist, Mary Lynn Brassil, MS, CES, C-EFM, RN, recently hosted a forum that included special presentations by members of the network's PMD Task Force. Sonia Murdock, Executive Director of the Postpartum Resource Center of New York, Inc., spoke, along with two mothers who shared their personal struggles and triumphs with PMD.
"More than 800,000 new mothers and their families are affected by PMD and anxiety each year," said Ms. Brassil. "Despite frequent prenatal visits with their primary healthcare provider, many women are not screened and go undetected. Assessment and screening for risk factors for PMD in the hospital and clinical setting is an integral part of the care women should receive during the immediate postpartum period."
Since 2008, a unique early intervention program at NYU Winthrop, conceptualized by nurses in the Hospital's Maternal Child Health Department and instituted with the support of the Hospital's Home Health Agency, has supported mothers who are at risk for PPD even after they leave the Hospital through early identification, monitoring and vital follow-up support.
"More than 22,000 women have been screened; close to 4,000 women have been identified as at risk for PMD and anxiety disorders; and close to 400 home care visits have been made since the inception of the program," said Ms. Brassil.
The NYU Winthrop program creates a bridge between the Hospital and the home, ensuring that women at risk for postpartum depression have access to a unique telephone support program and home care services to help ensure their well-being and the well-being of their child.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of PMD and Anxiety:
Help is just a phone call away. Call the Postpartum Resource Center of New York, Inc. at (631) 422-2255.
- Frequent crying
- Sleep disturbances
- Appetite disturbances
- Anxiety/Panic attacks
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope
- Loss of interest in things once previously enjoyed
- Fear of harming yourself or your baby
Programs such as NYU Winthrop's, and others available through the Nassau County Perinatal Services Network, are vital in helping women and their families find the support they need to cope and be treated.
Thanks to the work of the Postpartum Resource Center of New York, mothers Margareth Regalada and Vanessa Barisano, RN, found an outlet through which they could receive help. Both women, who are grateful for the resources that were made available to them during their time of trial, are now helping other moms who are facing PMD.
"I never would have thought this could happen to me," recalled one of the mothers as she shared her experience with PMD.
"Having help is so important and with the right help, it does get better."
The PMD Task Force includes NYU Winthrop; NuHealth-Nassau University Medical Center; South Nassau Communities Hospital; Mercy Medical Center; The Mental Health Association of Nassau County; The Postpartum Resource Center of NY; The Diane Goldberg Maternal Depression Program; North Shore Child Family Guidance Center; Dr. Jack Levine, The Pediatric Society of Nassau County; Zucker-Hillside Hospital Perinatal Psychiatry; Dr. Tina Walch, Medical Director of South Oaks Hospital; United Healthcare; Nurse Family Partnership; Nassau County Visiting Nurses Association of New York; Nassau County Perinatal Services Network; and the Nassau County Office of Mental Health.
The task force was formed in December, 2011 to create a safety net project for women in Nassau County who face perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, sending the message to childbearing women and other Nassau County residents that there are services for PMD available.
"It is important for every woman facing PMD to know that she is not alone," said Ms. Murdock.
For more information about PMD and services that are available to new mothers at NYU Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP.