In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

HMAA partners with Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies to provide postpartum support for moms

1 in 7 women suffer from PPD, but up to 50 percent of individuals with PPD are never detected

Sponsored by HMAA

After bringing baby into the world, many new moms experience postpartum depression. HMAA has partnered with Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii (HMHB) to shed some light on the serious topic and to offer support for mothers. HI Now host Kanoe Gibson is with Executive Director Sunny Chen to learn more.

HMHB is a non-profit organization that does whatever it takes to fill the gaps in our community to help moms and babies in Hawaii.  Its staff consists of midwives, therapists, nurses, doulas, case managers and lactation consultants. The non-profit has specific programs focused on safe sleep and child abuse prevention, tobacco cessation, nutrition/food distribution, mental health support programs, childbirth education and home visitation for a variety of reasons such as lactation consults.

HMHB is connected with a network of birth professionals and works toward having a collective voice to facilitate change in the path towards birth justice and eliminating disparities in maternal/infant health. It also supports mothers and families throughout their journey during their pregnancy and beyond as parents.

Chen says there are many factors that may contribute to Perinatal Mood and Anxiety disorders such as postpartum depression. Although “postpartum depression” is often used as a general term, women can experience several other forms of illness. On top of depression during the pregnancy and postpartum period, women may experience anxiety, Pregnancy or Postpartum OCD (PPOCD), Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PPTSD), Bipolar Mood Disorders or very rare but serious condition such as Postpartum Psychosis. Risk factors of depression include: Family history, poverty, stress (financial, marital, complications related to pregnancy, infant experienced NICU stay, stress related to infertility), mothers of multiples, and medical issues (hormonal, thyroid imbalance, diabetes).

Chen stresses that depression does not discriminate, as women of every age, race, or income can experience symptoms anytime during pregnancy and the first 12 months after childbirth.

During pregnancy and the postpartum period, women can have feelings of sadness, anger, irritability, guilt, lack of interest, hopelessness or even thoughts of self-harm. Often these symptoms can affect eating and sleeping, affect your ability to concentrate, and of course this can lead to feeling weak and tired. Mothers will often report that they feel emotionally disconnected to their babies.

1 in 7 women suffer from PPD, but up to 50 percent of individuals with PPD are never detected.

“In the population of moms that we serve at HMHB, I would say it’s closer to 1 in 5 women,” Chen says. “That is because percentages are even higher in women who may be experiencing poverty or high stress. It should be something that no mother feels ashamed of or feel like they cannot get help. It’s actually the most common perinatal complication that is related to childbirth!”

For more information: hmaa.com, or on Facebook and Instagram: @HMAAWellness