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Most moms with PPD identified by pediatricians don’t receive mental health care



Dr. Stacey Kallem, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Debra L. Beck/MDedge News

Dr. Stacey Kallem

Mothers with higher PPD symptom scores (odds ratio, 1.11; P = .03) and those with a history of depression in the year prior to the birth of their child (OR, 3.38; P = .02) were more likely to receive mental health services. No other maternal or infant or sociodemographic factors – including mother’s age, race, marital status, educational level, or parity status – were predictive of mental health care utilization.

“Moms with postpartum depression are less likely to breastfeed and less likely to adhere to infant safety practices like using car seats, but the good news is that if you screen and treat mothers with postpartum depression, many of these negative effects on the child can be mitigated,” said Dr. Kallem, a National Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

She noted a few limitations of the study, including that she was unable to collect any qualitative data regarding the interaction between the provider and the mother at the time of screening. Also, mothers may have received care that was not reimbursed by Medicaid.

Dr. Kallem reported having no financial conflicts of interest. The Eisenberg Fund and the National Clinician Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, supported the study.

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