Ask A Magnet Nurse

Nurses Can Teach New Moms The Signs Of Postpartum Depression And How To Get Help

LaCameo Miller, RN
Telfair BirthPlace

Smart Living: Awareness of postpartum depression is growing, but there are still many new moms who believe it couldn’t or shouldn’t happen to them, or that they are abnormal for experiencing negative emotions after just giving birth. How do nurses in the Telfair BirthPlace help these new moms?

LaCameo Miller: We talk and we listen. This starts with the admission packet that all new parents receive. It includes education on the hormonal changes that can make women tearful and emotional—what we call baby blues—and the natural ups and downs of being pregnant. It also outlines what symptoms may point to postpartum depression. I go over it with them again at discharge.

I always remind my patients that it’s okay to be emotional. It’s okay to feel what you feel! It’s not abnormal—the booklet we give them includes the fact that one in seven new parents will experience moderate to severe postpartum depression. I want new moms to be able to express how they feel, because if I know they are hurting, I can help.

SL: What are some of the signs that it may be more than baby blues and is possibly postpartum depression?

LM: Let’s say it’s Christmastime—you see a sweet Publix commercial and you’re in tears. If you’re good for the rest of the day, then that’s a common emotional moment. As opposed to five or six weeks after delivery, and everything makes you cry. Not eating, not sleeping, distancing yourself from your loved ones, including your new child—these are things you need to talk to your doctor about, or call one of our postpartum depression hotlines. Because usually, even if they’re going through an emotional time, moms want their baby for that comfort and love. So if you are not interested in being with your baby or taking care of your baby, that’s a big red flag.

But again, it’s okay to feel that way. We just need to know. As nurses, we know how hard it can be to say, “I need help.” But that is why we are here. Your doctor is here to help you. Your nurse is here to help you. It’s okay to express what you’re feeling, and we have the resources and support in place. We have your back.

If you or your partner are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, call the Postpartum Support International Helpline at 1-800-944-4PPD (4773) for professional, non-judgmental help or visit their website at


Smart Living Sign Up

Get the latest Smart Living instantly! Sign up to receive your Smart Living magazine digitally. 

How can we help you?