Maternal Mental Health Screenings

At least 50% of Comprehensive Perinatal Program (CPSP) providers and Federally Qualified Health Centers/Rural Health Clinics will adopt and implement Maternal Mental Health screening and referral into their practices when providing preconception, perinatal and postpartum services by June 30, 2018.

Why is this important?

Depression and anxiety frequently occur in women in the perinatal period (time immediately before and after birth). During pregnancy, between 12% and 22% of women have depression — double the rate seen in the general population of women. In the postpartum period, the rate of depression among new mothers ranges between 10% and 15%.
In 2015, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended that “clinicians screen patients at least once during the perinatal period for depression and anxiety symptoms using a standardized, validated tool".
During fiscal year 2016-17 the department's CPSP staff completed chart reviews of pregnant and postpartum women who got care in a CPSP certified provider office, and found that only 28% completed Maternal Mental Health screenings with validated tools.

What are we working on?

During fiscal year 2017-18, a CPSP health educator visited prenatal health care providers who work with CPSP to improve their Maternal Mental Health screening methods. During those visits, screening tools were introduced and health education handouts, posters and referrals lists were given for each region.
In order to increase community awareness, publications and video of the countywide campaign "You are Not Alone" were distributed.

How are we doing?

By June 30, 2018, 73% of CPSP providers were implementing prenatal and postpartum Maternal Mental Health screening using validated tools as evidenced by chart reviews.

What can you do?

Screening for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and follow up care should be required as part of cost-effective health care in all health plans. Screenings and education may take place at obstetrical (prenatal and postnatal) care visits, upon discharge from hospitals after childbirth, pediatric care visits, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offices or other places these women visit.

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Last Update: 06/21/2019