How one researcher’s “accidental research project” is creating more support for moms

I met with an incredible woman yesterday and I was often left speechless when hearing her explain the remarkable research that is being done at Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute. I just sat, frantically writing everything she said down like she was my new hero.

Dr. Catherine Lebel “accidentally” came across correlations from a previous research study involving pregnant moms and following the brain growth and development in infants. MRI scans show there is a correlation between prenatal and postpartum depression and changes to brain structure after baby is born. So why is this important to know? Because prenatal depression and anxiety is now thought to be as common as postpartum depression. And if I am able to head back to grade 4 math, 25% of moms experience postpartum depression, so the number could be as high as 1 in 4 moms experiencing prenatal depression as well. (Math was totally my favorite subject).

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This area is one that doctors and nurses are still learning about, but research like this is gold for mental health advocates. It shows that the more support moms have prenatally, the better they will do once baby is born. No pregnant mom wants to admit that they don’t feel as happy about their pregnancy as they should, which is made worse by the mom-guilt you automatically obtain as soon as the stick goes pink. But with research such this, it shows physicians and nurses how to ask the right questions for perinatal mood disorders.
And here is how I see it. The more people know about this, the more we talk about it, the more that health professionals ask “how are you really feeling?’, the less power depression has over those one in four women who struggle. 1 in 20 women have gestational diabetes and that is screened at least once during pregnancy.

Thank you, Dr. Lebel, for taking a risk to find out information that is first hand supporting pregnant mamas, as well as the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation for funding the research from community support and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which is funded through tax dollars. This work is life changing.

View photo in message                                                                                                                                        Dr. Lebel

At The Mama Coach, we offer in home private prenatal sessions, tailored to you. All of our classes include text and email support until your baby is born and we have packages that will make your transition to motherhood easier.

Written by Sam Kimura RN – The Mama Coach Calgary. Contact Sam here.

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