Postpartum depression can strike from the time a woman becomes pregnant through at least the first year after a mom gives birth, if not longer.
It brings feelings of anxiety and depression during a time that’s supposed to be exciting, welcoming new little life into the world.
A new drug just approved by the FDA is helping provide hope to new moms finding themselves on that rocky path of postpartum depression.
“One in seven women experience this,” said Kim Kriesel, a perinatal therapist with Well Mamas in Gilbert.
She works with women trying to cope with postpartum depression. In fact, she says it’s the number one medical complication related to pregnancy and child birth.
Kriesel knows firsthand how bad it can get after learning someone she was close with was on a downward spiral.
“To see this disease sort of take her over was very frightening,” she said. “Sadness, being overwhelmed, they can’t find joy. This in the most severe cases can even be life threatening.”
A strong support system and sleep are crucial to finding light at the end of the tunnel along with counseling.
“Now I have a very special place in my heart for this disease and for these women who are struggling,” she said.
Kriesel says she recommends medication for the most severe cases.
It's not a one-size-fits-all though, so she's pleased to see there's another treatment option approved by the FDA now.
It’s called Zulresso and it’s the first drug designed to specifically treat postpartum depression.
“I had known about this trial going on for quite some time, so I was excited to hear about the announcement,” Kriesel said.
The drug will be given in an IV over a 3-day period in the hospital. Zulresso resemblances hormones that increase during pregnancy and decrease after birth.
“It’s shining a light on this area so that moms realize they can get help,” she said.
The drug, which should be available by June, is an option for treating women very quickly. It’s one more tool, providing hope for a brighter future for new moms.
It’s still unclear whether insurance will cover any of the cost and it’s pricey, between $20,000 and $35,000. However, in clinical trials, women with moderate to severe postpartum depression saw an improvement within one day of the infusion.
For more information about resources available for women dealing with postpartum depression, you can visit the Well Mamas website.