The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a report (4/23/2015) recommending screening new and expectant mothers for anxiety and depression. Read the Committee Opinion HERE.
This is BIG NEWS. Finally, clinicians are being encouraged to discuss and screen for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, which are the #1 complication of pregnancy and childbirth, affecting up to 1 in 5 women during pregnancy or the first year postpartum.
While ACOG recognized the importance of screening, the organization emphasizes the need to have resources in place:
Although screening is important for detecting perinatal depression, screening by itself is insufficient to improve clinical outcomes and must be coupled with appropriate follow-up and treatment when indicated; 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.
Why has ACOG hesitated to recommend screening? ACOG members have worried about what to do if a woman screens positive for depression or anxiety, asking questions like…
- Where will I send her?
- How will I find help for her?
- s it ethical to screen if I don’t know where to send her?
PSVa stands ready to help women and families experiencing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, providing support services and a bridge to further help.