Tag Archives: Sandhills Women’s Care

You’re Not Alone: The Truth About Postpartum Depression

You’ve seen the pictures on social media: happy new mothers holding their swaddled, sleeping newborn.

Exhausted, you looked in the mirror. You didn’t have enough energy to put on makeup and you still have no idea why your newborn won’t sleep.

You scrolled through a trove of pictures of smiling families with their babies and wondered, “What am I doing wrong? What am I missing?”

You felt alone.

According to Douglas M. Addy, MD, FACOG an OB/GYN at Sandhills Women’s Care, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, that misconception is a new mother’s first mistake. You’re not alone.

While commercials, social media and magazines may portray motherhood as a perfectly joyous time, Dr. Addy said many new moms experience depression after giving birth, something often referred to as the baby blues. And 10 percent of all women who give birth experience postpartum depression, a debilitating form of depression that can, in extreme cases, be life threatening to both a new mom and her children.

“Postpartum depression can get so bad that it’s difficult to care for yourself, much less your baby, or anyone else in your family,” Dr. Addy said. “It can be a psychiatric emergency that needs to be monitored closely to make sure you’re getting better.”

Despite the severity of this condition, many women with postpartum depression often go untreated because of the stigma associated with it.

Dr. Douglas Addy

“When you have a baby, you’re supposed to be so happy that the baby is there,” Dr. Addy said. “It’s really hard for people to come to grips with what happens to their moods, and they may feel as if they’re not bonding with their baby. These women consider their feelings a sign of weakness, but it isn’t.”

Diagnosing postpartum depression can be difficult because many new moms brush off the symptoms that include lack of sleep, no appetite and an overwhelming sense of sadness as something women experience as part of childbirth.

“Women with postpartum depression find themselves crying at everything,” Dr. Addy said. “Anything can trigger an emotional response, which makes normal activities impossible.”

While the medical community knows that hormonal changes after pregnancy lead to postpartum depression, which specific hormonal changes have not been identified.

There is help for women struggling with depression after childbirth. They only need to speak with their doctor. Currently, most pediatricians also screen new moms for postpartum depression.

If a medical professional feels you have depression, he or she may refer you to a counselor, prescribe an antidepressant, or refer you to a psychiatrist for treatment. Sometimes just having someone to talk to can help.

“While postpartum depression will eventually get better, it can take a long time and there’s no need for new moms to needlessly suffer,” Dr. Addy said.

Blythewood Woman Values 3-D Mammography

In October 2006, Constella Zimmerman’s life turned upside down when she was diagnosed with breast cancer after her doctor discovered a lump during a checkup. Living in New Jersey at the time, Constella was preparing to return to her home state of South Carolina for a new job opportunity. She endured chemotherapy and radiation in New Jersey and South Carolina.

Constella says she never lost sight that her faith would see her through her cancer treatments. “The first thing I did was have my son shave my head,” she said. “While I had to come to terms with what I was facing, I realized that other people have survived and I had to have faith that I would survive, too.”

Constella Zimmerman photographed at Doko Manor in Blythewood

Constella Zimmerman photographed at Doko Manor in Blythewood

Now, as a 10-year survivor, Constella is adamant about keeping up with her annual checkups. She’s a patient at the Northeast Columbia office of Sandhills Women’s Care, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, where she had her first 3-D mammogram.

Sandhills Women’s Care offers 3-D mammography, also known as ‘tomosynthesis.’ This breast cancer screening tool creates a group of three-dimensional pictures of the breast and allows doctors to view tissue one millimeter at a time, making tiny details visible earlier and easier.

Jennifer Linfert, MD, FACOG, an OB/GYN at Sandhills Women’s Care, stresses that early detection is key in treating breast cancer successfully.

Jennifer Linfert, MD, FACOG

Jennifer Linfert, MD, FACOG

“Patients will find that 3-D mammography is no different from the mammogram they are accustomed to as far as compression, positioning and time,” she said. “The benefit to patients is that the multiple layers of images resulting from 3-D mammography can help doctors better evaluate the breast tissue.”

3-D mammography uses a low dose X-ray to create multiple images within seconds that are similar to the “slices” of images in a CT scan. The FDA-approved procedure uses the same type of equipment as a 2-D mammogram and a similar dose of radiation. Studies have shown that 3-D mammography also reduces false positives and unnecessary callbacks for patients with dense breast tissue.

Constella, who holds a PhD and is a professor at Webster University, understands the need for patients to be well educated and informed about their health care.

“My doctors made sure that I had plenty of detail about why 3-D mammography was a preferred method of screening for me,” she said. “And the fact that they could get results to you quickly is so important. You’re always thinking ‘what if.’ That’s the reality of it.”

Patients who have mammograms performed through Lexington Medical Center receive results in less than five days.

Constella is a true believer in encouraging every woman she knows to have her annual mammogram. “I skipped my mammogram one year; and as it turns out, that one year I skipped was the year it mattered,” she said. “If I hadn’t skipped, we would have caught it much sooner.”

Her advice to every woman is to mark that date on the calendar and never, ever miss that appointment.
LexMedCancer.com
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Northeast Columbia House Call

This month, Lexington Medical Center is publishing an edition of our magazine called House Call that will be delivered to mailboxes in Northeast Columbia. It features health information for you and your family from our team of clinicians who have physician practices in Northeast Columbia. You can view the flip version of Northeast Columbia House Call below.

For more information about our physician practices, visit LexMed.com