Anti-Mandatory Postpartum Depression Screening


In this post, I will be discussing why this screening should not becoming mandatory, it’s negative effects on upcoming mothers, and more. If we were to make the postpartum depression screening mandatory, it will negatively affect the mother by worrying her even more about her health, scare her family and make her life much more stressful.

Brett Thombs, “associate professor in the faculty of medicine of McGill University and a senior investigator at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research”, from the New York Times writes an intriguing article on why postpartum depression is harmful and unpromising. He starts out by stating that this screening isn’t reliable with its results. The perinatal and postpartum depression screening tests for mental disorders within the time period, meaning it tests for depression right then and there. Thombs claims that the screening detects depression as premature and earlier than actually expected. He believes that depression can form suddenly yet, go away on it’s own. During this article, he does state the opposing side and confirms how “postpartum depression harms women, their children and families” yet, it can still be too early to tell. Later, he states how the screening “tends to pick up more women without depression than women with it who would not otherwise be identified”. If the screening test results come out positive and there is a glitch within the system, it will then leave the mother wondering and start becoming frantic on whether she has depression or not. Leaving these women being skeptical about their (maybe) negative mental health will cause more consequences within the mother. Once this mother starts questioning herself and her actions, then her family will be affected negatively, her thought process will react in an extreme way and the baby has a higher risk of becoming affected for the worse.

Thombs goes on by stating how treatments for the depressed mothers isn’t even reliable or as effective as it should be. In my previous posts, there was often debates whether treatment actually worked out in a positive manner. Most commentary from women who participated in depression treatment themselves stated how it was inconvenient for their schedule, it was costly and it was harder on them since they had many more commitments as a new mother.

The most critical standpoint he made that stood out was how he mentions there are “no published clinical trials have found that depression screening improves depression outcomes”.

Even if the mother obtains depression and seeks help on her own, it isn’t proved that these methods are beneficial for her health. These screenings act more as guides than life savors, in Thombs’ opinion. Screenings are a helpful way to detect if depression is apparent and if it is at a high risk of getting worse but, there is no proof that it actually helps these mothers or if it actually hurts their mental health more than benefitting from them.

Screenings with false test results expose women to unpromising treatments that actually can make their depression worse. With these wrong results can lead to even more consequences than needed in the first place.

Image from NewBornHub


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