U.S. Panel Re...

U.S. Panel Recommends Depression Screening for Expectant and Postpartum Women

Pregnant and postpartum populations should be screened for signs of depression, according to a study by an influential U.S. panel.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updated its 2009 findings on depression screening for adults to include, for the first time, expectant and postnatal women. The panel also recommended treatment and follow-up plans post-delivery.

“The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends collaborative care for the management of depressive disorders based on strong evidence of effectiveness in improving depression symptoms, adherence to treatment, response to treatment, and remission and recovery from depression” read the report published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in reference to the study’s findings of all adults. “This collaboration is designed to improve the routine screening and diagnosis of depressive disorders, as well as the management of diagnosed depression.”

The study recommends Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as a form of treatment for pregnant or breastfeeding women because of the potential harms to a fetus or newborn from certain pharmaceutical drugs. According to the findings, the risk of harms associated with CBT treatment in postpartum and pregnant women is “small to none.”

Other medical associations, including The American Academy of Pediatrics and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend depression screening at least once during the perinatal period.


Part 1: Understanding Postpartum Depression

Part 2: A Snapshot into Life with Postpartum Depression