Incorporating Recognition and Management of Perinatal Depression Into Pediatric Practice
Perinatal depression is the most common obstetric complication in the United States, with prevalence rates of 15% to 20% among new mothers. Untreated, it can adversly affect the well-being of children and families throught increasing the risk for costly complications during birth and lead to deterioration of core supports, including partner relationships and social networks. Perinatal depression contributes to long-lasting, and even permanent, consequences for the physical and mental health of parents and children, including poor family functioning, increased risk of child abuse and neglect, delayed infant development, perinatal obstetric complications, challenges with breastfeeding, and costly increases in health care use. Perinatal depression can interfere with early parent-infant interaction and attachment, leading to potentially long-term disturbances in the child’s physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development. Fortunately, perinatal depression is identifiable and treatable. The US Preventive Services Task Force, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and many professional organizations recommend routine universal screening for perinatal depression in women to facilitate early evidence-based treatment and referrals, if necessary. Despite significant gains in screening rates from 2004 to 2013, a minority of pediatricians routinely screen for postpartum depression, and many mothers are still not identified or treated. Pediatric primary care clinicians, with a core mission of promoting child and family health, are in an ideal position to implement routine postpartum depression screens at several well-child visits throughout infancy and to provide mental health support through referrals and/or the interdisciplinary services of a pediatric patient-centered medical home model.
- Copyright © 2019 by the American Academy of Pediatrics