When postpartum Blues go black

When postpartum blues go black

The statistics are shocking: One in six to eight women experience postpartum depression; one to two of every 1,000 new mothers experience postpartum psychosis; and suicide is the among the leading causes of maternal mortality.

Giving birth is a major physical, emotional, and social stressor and yet, many women suffer in silence, sometimes with deadly results.

Then why has it taken so long for a drug specifically designed to help women’s mental health after giving birth to come to market?

After all, Viagra was released for erectile dysfunction 25 years ago. Surely, new babies and mothers deserve all hands on the metaphorical deck. But, like so many aspects of women’s health, this issue has largely fallen into our society’s blind spot.

Thankfully, the FDA recently approved a new drug, Zurzuvae, the first oral medication to treat postpartum depression (PPD) in adults. Like other forms of depression, the FDA states: “PPD is characterized by sadness and/or loss of interest in activities that one used to enjoy and a decreased ability to feel pleasure. It can present with symptoms such as cognitive impairment, feelings of sadness or inadequacy, loss of energy or suicidal ideation.”

Several studies of the new drug have shown a significant reduction of PPD symptoms in new mothers after two weeks. As with any drug, of course, there are risks.

Childbirth itself is risky and we believe no mother should be forced to give birth. And with maternal mortality rates 10 times higher in the USA than in other high-income nations, it’s critical to plan for a lot more than just baby showers to ensure the health and happiness of our mothers (Venus Mats are a great baby shower gift, perfect for when a mother's water breaks, as well as during postpartum care at home— without all the excess laundry).

At Venus Matters, we believe that the right to choose, access to contraception, adequate pregnancy and postpartum medical care, and the right to paid maternal and paternal leave are inherent human rights.

More than 120 countries already mandate paid maternal leave (some of them for more than a year!) while the USA fails to direct businesses to provide a single day.

It’s time to break free from the blind spots and start providing better maternal care while talking about the mental health risks associated with childbirth. Our mothers deserve so much more. That’s one essential reason why Venus Matters.  

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