News Roundup March 15

Postpartum Depression Studies

A study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health conducted by a researcher at Northwestern University found that a high number of women have depressive symptoms after childbirth. The study screened 10,000 women for depression and found a rate of 14% screened positive for depression. The lead study author, Katherine Wisner M.D. believes that the majority of women with postpartum depression are not identified or treated. This is a public health problem because maternal depression has an effect both on the developing fetus and the baby once it is born. Prenatal depression has been linked to preterm birth and low birth weight as well as an association with increased drug and alcohol use. Depression in new mothers can result in attachment and developmental issues in the child. The study says that not only are prenatal and postpartum screenings for depression important, but that cost effective and accessible treatment options need to be developed. Click here to read more.

Another study has found that the rate of anxiety for new mothers in the first few days after childbirth is higher than the rate of postpartum depression often due to mental stress surrounding the delivery, the adjustment to a larger family and difficulty with breast feeding. For most women, the anxiety goes away by itself in a few weeks and doesn’t require any treatment. For more on this study click here.


Work and Family Trends

A new study by the Pew Research Center has found that while there are still gender differences between mothers and fathers, more women are going to work and fathers are doing more housework and childcare. Both working mothers and fathers find it difficult to balance family and work responsibilities, but fathers think it is more important to have a high paying job and mothers think it is more important to have a flexible job. In two parent households with two working parents, fathers tend to spend more time at paid work and mothers tend to spend more time providing childcare and doing housework, but the total combined hours of work show that both parents are carrying an equal load time wise. For a link to the study click here.


The President’s Early Learning Initiatives – A Clarification

 The Early Childhood Office at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has provided some clarifications regarding the President’s new early learning initiative. ACF will continue to administer Head Start and other programs and initiatives that support families with children birth to four. These programs will continue to focus on the whole child incorporating health and related support services into the programs. Increasing Early Head Start and home visiting programs as well as increasing partnerships between Early Head Start and childcare will help to meet the needs of children and families. Read more about this here.


This News Roundup was compiled and co-authored by Karen Burch, M.A.



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