March 21, 2022
Maternal mental health (MMH) disorders, like postpartum depression, are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth, affecting on average, 1 in 5 mothers. Rates are higher among those facing economic challenges and among certain racial groups. For example, rates of maternal depression are more than doubled for Black than White mothers. When left untreated, these disorders can cause devastating consequences for the mother, the baby, family, and society. Many people, including health care providers, are not familiar with the signs and symptoms of these disorders, to easily recognize an MMH disorder. With the incidence of MMH disorders on the rise, it is even more critical that these disorders are detected and treated. The use of researchvalidated screening tools (questionnaires) to identify those who may be suffering, are now universally recommended. However, because of several complicating factors, screening has not been universally implemented.