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12/7/10 What’s The #1 Complication of Childbirth That Gets Ignored?

TEDWomen contest winner Liz Friedman addresses devastating effects of postpartum depression, our nation’s surprising lack of support and how one organization is changing all that

December 7, 2010. TEDWomen Conference - WASHINGTON DC

Almost 500,000 U.S. women and their families (millions globally) suffer from the ‘silent crippler’ known as postpartum depression (PPD). Studies estimate that PPD impacts up to 1 in 5 mothers – triple that of gestational diabetes and pre-term delivery. Yet there is virtually NO screening done for this devastating condition and no comprehensive support for women and their families who often don’t know where to turn for treatment.

TEDWomen asked “How do you want to change the world?” Liz Friedman was selected (out of hundreds of applicants) to attend TEDWomen to share her story. Liz knows firsthand the damaging effects of PPD. Eight years ago after the birth of her first child she experienced the abyss of PPD and came out the other end.

That experience galvanized Liz to co-found the MotherWoman Postpartum Support Initiative – a training program for mothers and health professionals to run transformative support groups for those in postpartum crisis. This replicable model has been highly successful and is now launching on a national scale. Studies have shown that support groups are one of the best, early interventions for mothers experiencing PPD. Yet most mothers do not have access to this kind of support. MotherWoman is on a mission to make this successful model available for every 2,000 births by 2013.

Says Friedman, “I am one of the fortunate ones who can look back and say that I made it through. I am passionate about helping other women find their way out of this crisis. Through guidance by professional- trained leaders and speaking our truth, we can break the stigma of PPD and begin the path to healing”.

Interview With Liz Friedman at TEDWomen Conference AOL Studio Tuesday, December 7th
Liz Friedman is slotted for a short interview at the TEDWomen conference AOL/Blackberry studio on Tuesday, December 7th (time TBD). Please contact Liz for exact timing, or to interview her during and after the conference. Cell: 413-658-8231, liz@motherwoman.org, tweet @MotherWoman.

Facts About Postpartum Depression

  • Postpartum Depression is the leading complication for new mothers – affecting 10% - 20% mothers nationally.
  • Most mothers are routinely not screened for PPD, offered good information or have help readily available when they need it most.
  • Mothers in poverty will experience PPD at a rate as high as 40% - 50%, compared to 10% - 20% for the general population.
  • Mothers in the US experience a significantly higher rate of depression than in any other industrialized nation

Download press release pdf