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Experiences of Women with Postpartum Depression Participating in a Support Group Led by Mental Health Providers

Cook, Carolyn DNP, MSN, RNC-OB; Goyal, Deepika PhD, MS, FNP-C; Allen, Monica DrPH, MPH

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: July/August 2019 - Volume 44 - Issue 4 - p 228–233
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000533
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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore experiences of women currently with or at high risk for developing postpartum depression (PPD) who were participating in a postpartum support group facilitated by mental health providers.

Study Design and Methods: Using a qualitative design, women ≥18 years of age, who had given birth within the past 2 years, and who were currently attending, or had attended the PPD support group within the past year were invited to participate. The women provided demographic data and participated in a semistructured face-to-face interview. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Results: Seven women between 27 and 38 years of age participated. Most were married and college educated. At time of the interviews, participants were between 5 months and 2 years postpartum and all reported taking antidepressant medications for their symptoms. Qualitative content analysis revealed three overall themes: attendance, impact, and medication adherence, with associated subthemes.

Clinical Implications: Women attending a PPD support group facilitated by mental health providers felt supported, were more likely to disclose their symptoms to other women in the same situation, and were able to share their feelings without fear of judgment. Having concerns about antidepressant medication addressed at each meeting promoted medication adherence. Nurses working with childbearing women should be aware of community support services available for women at risk for developing PPD.

In this study, women with postpartum depression who participated in a postpartum support group facilitated by mental health professionals, offered their thoughts on how the support group helped them cope and manage their postpartum depression. They felt supported, were more likely to disclose their symptoms to other women in the same situation, and were able to share their feelings without fear of judgement. Nurses should be aware of these types of services in the community so they can refer women as needed.

Carolyn Cook is a Lecturer, School of Nursing, California State University, Sacramento, CA.

Deepika Goyal is a Professor, The Valley Foundation School of Nursing, San José State University, San Jose, CA. The author can be reached via e-mail at deepika.goyal@sjsu.edu

Monica Allen is an Assistant Professor, Master of Public Health Program Coordinator, Department of Health Science and Recreation, San José State University, San Jose, CA.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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