Identifying & Treating Maternal Depression: Strategies & Considerations for Health Plans

Kathryn Santoro, MA & Hillary Peabody, MPH

Between 10 and 20 percent of women experience maternal depression, either during pregnancy or in the year following delivery. Maternal depression can lead to serious health risks for both the mother and baby, including health complications that are costly and long lasting. Yet many women go undiagnosed as a result of social stigma and a lack of standard screening practices among health professionals. This issue brief reviews the prevalence of maternal depression, health risks of untreated depression, and economic consequences of depression and its associated health complications. Additionally, the brief provides recommendations and tools for health care providers to identify and treat maternal depression and shares opportunities for health plans to promote a comprehensive approach to early identification and treatment of maternal depression.


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