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Health Spotlight | World’s first postpartum pill

Health Spotlight | World’s first postpartum pill

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s known as one of the happiest times in a woman’s life. The birth of her baby. But that’s not the case for every new mom. One in seven moms are overcome with feelings of sadness, worthlessness, guilt, and even suicide. Postpartum depression or PPD is on the rise. The CDC found that the rate of depression diagnosed at delivery was seven times higher in 2015 than in 2000. There’s a drug newly approved by the FDA that’s being hailed as a lifesaver for new parents.

Little Mave is Brooke Wiesner’s third child and most difficult pregnancy. She was born four weeks premature.

“I was pretty depressed right afterwards. I didn’t feel about her, like the way I feel, like I should have felt about her,” said Brooke.

“I had all my kids in the car, and I was like, I have to go to a doctor because I’m like, if my kids weren’t in the car, I don’t know, I might would drive it off the side of the road or something,” said Brooke, two months after Mave’s birth.

Suicide accounts for about 20% of postpartum deaths and is the leading cause of maternal mortality in the U.S. That’s why the first two FDA approved drugs to treat PPD are literally lifesavers.

“The idea that we can get people better in a matter of days or weeks is absolutely critical in this really delicate imperative timeframe,” said Dr. Riah Patterson, a psychiatrist at University of North Carolina.

The first drug—Zulresso—requires a hospital stay and is given by IV for 60 hours. And now, the FDA has approved a pill form—Zurzuvae—that new moms can take over a course of 14 days at home.

“I see people who have dramatic changes in their mood who at first don’t talk about their family or their baby at all coming into the infusion and by the end are showing me photos,” said Patterson.

Brooke chose the IV version.

“I don’t know, I was like super hopeful and then probably 48 hours I like had no feelings of sadness at all,” she said.

And now Brooke is back to being an active, involved, loving mom to Piper, Cole, and Mave.

These two drugs are the first to specifically treat postpartum depression. Data suggests up to 95% of women never reach remission as their PPD was not recognized or undertreated. If you are experiencing postpartum depression, you can call or text the international helpline at 1-800-944-4773. If you are having suicidal thoughts right now, call the crisis lifeline at 9-8-8.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.