Study: More women giving birth with suicidal ideation

A large new study suggests that the number of women considering suicide or self-harm during or after pregnancy may be increasing.

Of the approximately 600,000 childbirth women in the United States, researchers found that nearly 2,700 were diagnosed with suicidal tendencies in the years before and after childbirth. And diagnoses defined as suicidal ideation or intentional self-harm have become more common over time.

In 2006, 0.2% of women were diagnosed with suicidal tendencies. By 2017, that number was 0.6%.

“The absolute numbers may sound small, but given the fact that there are millions of births a year in the United States, that’s a lot of women,” said the National Alliance on Mental Associate Medical Director. One Dr. Christina Crawford said. Illness in Arlington, Virginia.

Beyond that, the numbers almost certainly underestimate the scope of the problem, according to Crawford, who was not involved in the study.

The numbers represent only the diagnosis of suicidal tendencies and do not represent cases that were not detected by the healthcare provider. This can be many times higher.

“Patients who report this to their healthcare providers may have multiple barriers,” Crawford said, including stigma, guilt, and fear of doctors calling child protection services. ..

Dr. Lindsay Admon, Principal Investigator of the study, agreed that the findings are likely to be underestimated.

In addition to focusing on diagnosis, she said the study included only women with private insurance. No one was in Medicaid, a government insurance program for low-income Americans. And those pregnant women and new moms may be at relatively high risk of suicidal tendencies, Admon said.

Currently, doctors are encouraged to screen for depressive symptoms in pregnant women and new mothers. For example, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend this, but women usually see an obstetrician and gynecologist only once after giving birth.

Pediatricians are also starting to step up. The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends that pediatricians screen for symptoms of maternal depression when the baby is regularly visiting healthy children for the first six months of life.

Still, that may not be enough, Crawford said.

According to a recent US government survey, the symptoms of postpartum depression can last for years or take a long time to develop. Researchers have suggested that a two-year screening may be more effective.

That screening is important, said Admon, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Ann Arbor’s Michigan Medical von Boytlander Women’s Hospital. But she also added that women also need a “next step,” a referral to a mental health professional.

And they need it to be affordable, Admon emphasized. Women with less than a certain income are eligible for different qualifications in different states and are eligible for pregnancy-related health care Medicaid compensation. However, the coverage ends 60 days after she gives birth.

In this study, published online this week at JAMA Psychiatry, Admon’s team used a database of medical claims for more than 595,000 US women who gave birth between 2006 and 2017. Researchers say the personally identifiable information has been removed.

Meanwhile, researchers found that the prevalence of suicidal ideation increased from 0.1% to 0.5% and self-harm increased from 0.1% to 0.2%.

And, like many areas of health care, black women are at increased risk. The suicide rate increased from 0.2% to 0.9%.

What the study cannot say is why the rate is increasing.

According to Admon, one possibility is that suicidal tendencies are detected more often due to screening and efforts to reduce stigma. However, she said the true prevalence could be rising.

Both Admon and Crawford emphasized that help is available, and women should not hesitate to ask for it.

“Women who have these ideas should know that they are not alone,” Crawford said. “It is essential to consult a clinician as soon as possible.”

She pointed out that mental health symptoms are not a sign of being a “bad parent.”

Admon said it’s important to try to help female partners, family and friends when they notice signs of concern or behavioral changes.

She said that now, in the midst of a pandemic, many pregnant women and new mothers may feel isolated from their normal social support system. Therefore, you may welcome your friends to check in by phone or video chat.

For more information

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is focused on preventing mothers from committing suicide.

Copyright 2020 Health Day. all rights reserved.

Study: More women giving birth with suicidal ideation

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