At Cradle Cincinnati, improving data around pregnancy is absolutely central to our work. This is the seventh in a series of posts about how data can help drive healthy change for Hamilton County.

THE DATA:
Between 2009-2011, 45.8% of new moms in Hamilton County reported experiencing at least some postpartum depression. [3]

THE STORY BENEATH THE DATA:
Many of the answers to reducing infant mortality rely on increasing healthy behaviors for women and  moms. As a community, we find ourselves frustrated that more pregnant women don’t quit smoking, that obesity rates continue to rise or that more moms aren’t seeking adequate prenatal care.  But, in this pursuit, we often ignore the reality of mom’s life as we ask her to make difficult behavior changes.

Even under the best of circumstances, pregnancy and the postpartum period can be a challenging time for moms. Add in chemical changes that lead to depression and this time can be downright debilitating for some new moms. And, when depression takes hold, important advice about safe sleep, pregnancy spacing or breastfeeding can fall on deaf ears.

When sharing key health messages with moms – whether as a nurse, a social worker, a friend or a family member – the most important first message is always one of love and support.

A DEEPER LOOK:
It isn’t just new moms who struggle in this way. In 2013, 9% of adults in Hamilton County reported feeling hopeless at some point in the last 30 days, and 23% reported feeling “so depressed that nothing could cheer them up.” [4] Nearly 1 in 4 of our neighbors feels buried by depression. As we work to improve physical health in our community, we need to recognize that improving our mental health often has to come first.


RESOURCES:

If you or someone you know is struggling with maternal depression, your city is here for you.  View a list of local resources here.

[3] 2009-2011 PRAMS

[4] 2013 BRFSS