In the efforts to reevaluate why the United States has one of the worst rates of death among new moms, not enough of the conversation has looked at postpartum suicides. A recent study called postpartum suicide a “public health priority.” HuffPost noted that similar studies have found that about one in five postpartum deaths are suicide-related. Postpartum suicide is the second leading cause of death among new mothers.
After giving birth, new mothers are especially sensitive. They might be exhausted from months of physical and emotional changes, and most likely sleep deprived from tending to a newborn. About 15 percent of all new mothers experience postpartum depression within the first few months after childbirth. Anxiety, a history of mental illness and possible childhood trauma are other factors that can elevate a mother’s risk for postpartum depression and suicidal thoughts.
ProPublica’s latest dispatch in their continuing study on maternal death rates recommends that potential mothers visit their obstetrician/gynecologists doctors more frequently than the current standard practice. There’s also a recommendation that the mother’s first postpartum checkup happen sooner to catch potential life-threatening complications earlier.