ACOG Committee Opinion No. 757: Screening for Perinatal Depression

ABSTRACT: Perinatal depression, which includes major and minor depressive episodes that occur during pregnancy or in the first 12 months after delivery, is one of the most common medical complications during pregnancy and the postpartum period, affecting one in seven women. It is important to identify pregnant and postpartum women with depression because untreated perinatal depression and other mood disorders can have devastating effects. Several screening instruments have been validated for use during pregnancy and the postpartum period. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers screen patients at least once during the perinatal period for depression and anxiety symptoms using a standardized, validated tool. It is recommended that all obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers complete a full assessment of mood and emotional well-being (including screening for postpartum depression and anxiety with a validated instrument) during the comprehensive postpartum visit for each patient. If a patient is screened for depression and anxiety during pregnancy, additional screening should then occur during the comprehensive postpartum visit. There is evidence that screening alone can have clinical benefits, although initiation of treatment or referral to mental health care providers offers maximum benefit. Therefore, clinical staff in obstetrics and gynecology practices should be prepared to initiate medical therapy, refer patients to appropriate behavioral health resources when indicated, or both.

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