“PRAMS responses are reported an average of 4 months postpartum, which suggests persistence of [depressive] symptoms,” the authors wrote.
Dr. Ko said that mental health conditions play a role in approximately 9% of pregnancy-related deaths and that not asking about depression represents “missed opportunities to potentially identify and treat women with depression.” The United States Preventive Services Task Forcescreening all adults for depression, including women during pregnancy and the postpartum period, she added.
When asked what can be done to improve screening that has not already been tried, Dr. Ko said the CDC is currently evaluating a study called the Program in Support of Moms (PRISM), which “is designed to help obstetrics and gynecology practices address the significant public health issue of depression during and after pregnancy. PRISM aims to close gaps in health care delivery to ensure that women with depression during and after pregnancy receive the best treatment, which can result in improvement in their symptoms.”
Dr. Ko added that the Health Resources and Services Administration has funded seven states to begin “programs to support providers to screen, assess, refer, and treat pregnant and postpartum women for depression and other behavioral health conditions. States can use initiatives like Healthy Start, home visiting, and Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant programs as levers to improve screening and address maternal depression.
“Screening is just one part of addressing perinatal depression. Health care providers need to refer women to appropriate resources in order to get the proper diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care for management of depression,” Dr. Ko concluded.
The authors disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
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