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Screening and Treating Patients’ Perinatal Mental Health

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Screening and Treating Patients’ Perinatal Mental Health


Screening and Treating Patients’ Perinatal Mental Health

More stories

Screening and Treating Patients’ Perinatal Mental Health

Perinatal mood disorders (such as depression and anxiety) are among the most common medical complications during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Obstetricians, gynecologists, primary care providers and other providers play a critical role in identifying perinatal mood disorders and initiating care. We continue to implement ways to help providers increase screening and treatment rates for people experiencing perinatal mental health issues.

The cost of untreated perinatal mood disorders  

When perinatal mood disorders go undiagnosed and/or untreated, there are negative consequences for both pregnant people and their children.

• In pregnant people, unaddressed perinatal mental health issues are linked to:

  • Increased cesarean section and preterm birth rates.
  • Delayed or inadequate prenatal care. 
  • Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) use in pregnancy.
  • Decreased productivity. 
  • Increased rates of suicide.1

• Children born to people with untreated perinatal mood disorders may experience negative health outcomes such as:

  • Mental health issues, from antisocial and aggressive behavior to autism spectrum disorder (ASD).2   
  • Increased incidence of infectious morbidity (including otitis media, gastroenteritis and pneumonia).3
  • Higher risk of chronic disease, including childhood obesity, diabetes and leukemia.4
  • Higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).5

To learn more about how to screen your patients and support your patients with mood disorders during pregnancy and postpartum, visit our Maternal Health webpage, which includes resources for perinatal mental health screening, diagnosing and referral.