Although experts warn that one women in seven experiences significant mental health problems during or after pregnancy, family doctors often miss essential warning signs of mental problems in their female patients. To combat the detrimental effects of postpartum depression on women and their children, the U.K. National Health Service has implemented new clinical guidelines for use by family doctors. The guidelines involve asking a series of screening questions of all new mothers to spot symptoms of clinical depression or other emotional issues including eating disorders, anxiety, and psychosis. Although postpartum depression has long been recognized as a significant health risk, standards of medical care and diagnosis have been found to vary significantly across different regions of the country. By focusing on new mothers in the months following giving birth, it is hoped to provide suitable treatment options including counseling or medication.
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