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Pandemic could be making new moms more at-risk for postpartum depression, psychologist says

'Women giving birth right now are extremely stressed'
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Posted at 11:28 AM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 14:28:11-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — A Boca Raton psychologist is warning moms giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic could be more at-risk for postpartum depression.

Baby Adrian keeps his mom Jessica Swartzendruber smiling and busy.

“I went to work 5 weeks after he was born,” Swartzendruber said. I’m a registered dietician and certified personal trainer.”

Adrian was born in June. The first time mom says having a baby in the middle of a pandemic caused feelings of sadness.

“The most difficult part was not being able to share this with family and not being able to rely on them for what a new mom needs as well,” she recalled.

Swartzendruber says then the isolation caused by the pandemic brought on feelings of postpartum depression.

“Feeling a sense of almost loss at the same time,” she said. “Just really not understanding what was going on with my body, my mind. A lot of insecurities as well.”

“Women giving birth right now are extremely stressed,” Dr. Patty Shutt, Licensed Clinical Psychologist with Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches said.

Dr. Shutt says she’s seeing more new mothers dealing with postpartum depression.

“Definitely numbers are up,” she said. “I have a primary concern. Many people are really reluctant to go to the doctor, although I know the psychiatrist we’re working with are all really available for telehealth and really have been stretching their hours, to meet the demand.”

Dr. Shutt says there are warning signs, “Loss of interest and ability to engage in activities, definitely the mood swings and crying.”

She says don’t write those feelings off as the “baby blues.” Get a medical professional’s opinion.

“My advice is to just enjoy the moments when you can, but know when to ask for help,” Swartzendruber said.

For those in crisis, visit: https://211palmbeach.org/

This story was first published by Sabirah Rayford at WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida.