According to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in nine women develop postpartum depression. Many women who are suffering are unaware due to the condition not having a single cause, but the symptoms can be recognized by doctors. Postpartum depression can be linked to sleep deprivation during the recovery from childbirth and also chemical changes in the brain, which may trigger mood swings. Now, thanks to the Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, women can screen themselves for the condition through their fingertips.
The free iPhone app has been developed for women throughout and after their pregnancies to test where they stand on the postpartum depression spectrum. Director of Massachusetts General Hospital’S Ammon-Pinizzotto Center for Women’s Mental Health, Dr Lee S. Cohen, stated “We view this as so intuitive from a public health point of view given the prevalence of postpartum depression in the population, using apps is part of the fabric of people’s day to day lives.” Dr. Cohen continued “A woman can fill out a screen, see what the score is and get a prompt about the result and then have a resource page on the app to help them.”
Cohen further explained how the app uses screening tools mirroring the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale as well as using targeted questions about symptoms linked to the condition including anxiety, insomnia and stress. The app was funded solely by an anonymous donor who wanted to help other women diagnose their depression. Cohen said “It was a family just saying, ‘Thank you,'” He continued, “It was very inspiring to us and really galvanized our team to bring it home and to make it worth their investment.”
Public figures including Ivanka Trump, Chrissy Teigen and Alanis Morissette have all spoken out about their personal struggles with postpartum depression in the hope that it reduces the stigma attached for women around the world.