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Docs worry there’s ‘nowhere to send’ new and expectant moms with depression


 

Lawmakers in California will begin debate next month on a bill that would require doctors to screen new moms for mental health problems – once while they’re pregnant and again after they give birth.

But many obstetricians and pediatricians bristle at the idea, saying they are afraid to screen new moms for depression and anxiety.

“What are you going to do with those people who screen positive?” asked Laura L. Sirott, MD, an ob.gyn. who practices in Pasadena. “Some providers have nowhere to send them.”

Nationally, depression affects up to one in seven women during or after pregnancy, according to the American Psychological Association.

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