Doctors Should Identify Patients Who Are At Risk For Depression During Or After Pregnancy, Task Force Recommends
The new guidelines comes from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a group whose guidance most insurance plans are required to follow. In 2016, the federal task force recommended that primary-care physicians screen for depression among adults, especially pregnant women and recent mothers, but this year the group went a step further and advises doctors to identify women who may be at risk.
The Wall Street Journal:
New Mothers At Risk Of Depression To Get Counseling Services, Covered By Insurance, Under New Guidelines
Women who are pregnant or have just given birth should receive counseling if they have risk factors for depression, a U.S. panel of experts has recommended for the first time, forcing many health plans to cover such services at no additional cost. The recommendation was made Tuesday by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a group whose guidance most insurance plans are required to follow. (Abbott, 2/12)
The New York Times:
Depression During And After Pregnancy Can Be Prevented, National Panel Says. Here’s How.
Some kinds of counseling can keep some women from developing debilitating symptoms that can harm not only them but their babies, the panel reported on Tuesday. Its report amounted to a public call for health providers to seek out women with certain risk factors and guide them to counseling programs. The recommendation, by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, means that insurers will be required to cover those services — with no co-payments — under the Affordable Care Act. “We really need to find these women before they get depressed,” said Karina Davidson, a task force member and senior vice president for research for Northwell Health. (Belluck, 2/12)
Cognitive Behavioral Counseling Can Prevent Postpartum Depression
The consequences of maternal depression can be severe, according to Davidson, who describes a "cascading set of problems" including premature birth, low birth weight and failure to thrive. After childbirth, new mothers who are depressed can be neglectful and inattentive to their newborn, putting the infants at risk for an even greater number of problems. In 2016, the Task Force recommended screening for depression among all adults, including pregnant women, and if depressive symptoms are detected, that adults, including pregnant women be treated. This year, the Task Force has taken their recommendation further. (Neighmond, 2/12)
The New York Times:
What You And Your Family Need To Know About Maternal Depression
Perinatal depression can occur during pregnancy or any time within a year after childbirth. As defined by the panel, it can involve major or minor depressive symptoms that last for at least two weeks, including loss of energy or concentration, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, feelings of worthlessness or suicidal thoughts. It’s not the same as the “baby blues,” which is less severe and doesn’t last as long. The panel said “baby blues” can occur right after childbirth and can include crying, irritability, fatigue and anxiety, symptoms that usually disappear within 10 days. (Belluck, 2/12)