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Dr. Nancy Snyderman on Postpartum Depression and Cesareans


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By Jill—Unnecesarean

When I pick up a medical or health care advice book written for consumers, I usually turn right to the index and look for the following terms: pregnancy, cesarean and childbirth to see how they are covered. Considering the fact that the cesarean section is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States and that 80 percent of U.S. women will have a child by the age of 44, it always surprises me that advice for consumers about pregnancy tends to be marginalized in its own shelf in the library or bookstore.

The New York Times best selling book by Nancy Snyderman, M.D., Medical Myths That Can Kill You: And the 101 Truths That Will Save, Extend, and Improve Your Life had a few brief mentions of pregnancy in the book. However, in skimming through the rest of the book, I found an interesting blurb about postpartum depression and cesareans sections in the mental health chapter.


TRUTH: Postpartum depression is a real medical disorder.

Some women become depressed after delivering a baby, and this is termed postpartum depression or the baby blues. No one knows the exact cause, but it is thought to be related to the complex mix of physical, hormonal, emotional, and psychological changes associated with having a baby. For example, the levels of estrogen and progesterone, the female reproductive hormones, increase by ten times during pregnancy but plummet after delivery, which could explain a new mother’s unprovoked crying, irritability, and spikes of elation. Women who undergo a Cesarean delivery are highly prone to postpartum depression. Exactly why, we don’t know, but some therapists say that in certain cases Cesarean delivery can cause effects similar to posttraumatic stress syndrome. For some women expecting to give birth by vaginal delivery, having a C-section may bring on frustration, anxiety, or depression. There are ways to prevent or cope with postpartum depression: Ask for help after you get home. Talk about your feelings; suffering alone in silence will only add to your depression. Your body has been through an arduous process, so try to sleep as much as possible after giving birth. Follow a healthy diet. The baby blues are usually transient, lasting only a few weeks. If your depression continues to pull you down, talk to your doctor.


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Reader Comments (5)

I hate this woman with a passion. I have a hard time resisting the urge to throw things at my tv when she is on. I'm sorry, I couldn't go any further without getting that out of the way.

But it is interesting to see that this woman who only, what, a year ago? (less?) Was sticking her face, giddy with self-congratulations, in front of a camera while a woman sat lonely post-op from her c-section that had just been aired on live television. The purpose of that segment was supposed to just be a walk through serious but routine surgeries; but it seemed to say, "Hey, look c-sections are a BREEZE! Your baby will be cute and everyone will be happy no matter what!" The way Snyderman preened in front of the camera brought my loathe for her to a whole other level. Gleefully shrieking how it was such a good thing that baby was delivered that way because that kid never would have made it through. It made me sick. It still does.

I'll also never forget the look on that mama's face - abandoned and bewildered. Lost. Unable to fathom anything that had just happened to her. That she had a baby. On live TV. In front of millions of viewers. That once the baby was out, she was nothing more than an afterthought.

So it is definitely interesting to know that she acknowledges this stuff. I mean, this is almost exactly what I would say to another woman - except in my reading, the "baby blues" isn't quite the same as ppd.

August 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRJ

hate her too
she offends me....ugg

August 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternaomi

"Talk about your feelings; suffering alone in silence will only add to your depression."

And yet anytime you bring up these feelings, even with a doctor, the most common response you get is, "well at least you have a healthy baby," or, "one hundred years ago, you would be dead now." NOT helpful.

August 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

She's an MD? And such a title! Odd that she doesn't know the difference between postpartum depression and baby blues. Perhaps she should take a doula training, it's pretty basic, I'm sure she should grasp it.

August 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea

My mother always watches that show, but I just can't stand that woman or anyone else on it. Although that's now I feel about all morning shows and the mainstream media in general. ugh. sensationalist fearmongering yada yada...

August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara
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