Advocating for Yourself in a Healthcare Setting
Recommendations for Parents Seeking Supports for Pregnancy-Related Depression and Anxiety in Colorado
Advocating for the care you need in a healthcare setting can be intimidating.
In this blog post, we will look at a report published by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that explores how healthcare providers can better serve people impacted by pregnancy-related depression and anxiety.
We will then explore how you can advocate for a provider that best meets these needs.
Your provider should be a listener and an observer.
Some providers do not go beyond asking “How are you feeling” to “How are you really feeling? Please tell me more.” Do your best to share everything you are feeling and experiencing, even if you feel pressure to answer questions with “good” or “fine.” Sharing your perspective and experience will help your doctor provide you with the most effective care and referrals.
You and your needs should be at the center of your care plan.
Your participation in your own care plan is essential, and being acknowledged as a unique individual and receiving responsive care from your provider makes all the difference. Communicate to your provider that you need to be included in conversations and decisions about your care plan. It is important to find a provider who will listen to, trust, and respect your decisions.
Communication between members of your care team is essential to providing you with quality care.
Streamlined communication between your care team is important to your health and well-being during pregnancy. Ask your provider how they communicate with members of your care team or how they plan to increase communication with the common goal of helping you to be well.
Your provider should speak with you about pregnancy-related depression and anxiety regularly throughout your pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Consistent mental health screening throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period is the best way to ensure you receive the care and support you need in a timely manner. If you feel uncertain of what to expect, or are confused about what you are experiencing, ask your provider to explain the changes to mental and emotional health that can occur and what to do if you or your partner experiences symptoms.
Your healthcare provider should be educated about the resources available and encourage you to take action towards seeking help.
By destigmatizing the experience of pregnancy-related depression and anxiety, your provider can encourage you to take steps towards seeking professional support. It is your provider’s responsibility to be knowledgeable of community resources that will help you receive the support you need. Ask for their support in connecting you with appropriate resources and be sure to communicate the positive and negative aspects of your experience, so they can better serve you and future patients.
While advocating for yourself in a healthcare setting can be intimidating, it is the best way to ensure your physical and mental health needs are fully met. If you are struggling to connect with professional help, we encourage you to visit Postpartum Support International.
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Report: Recommendations for Providers Supporting Women Experiencing Pregnancy-Related Depression and Anxiety