The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has issued new depression screening recommendations that focus on pregnant and postpartum women.
The report was published earlier this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It updates 2009 recommendations for adult depression screenings.
"Pregnant women are a vulnerable population especially in the postpartum period," said Doctor Leo Brancazio, chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at West Virginia University School of Medicine.
"People have heard of post-partum blues, which actually doesn’t do what happens to many women justice" he said. "There is a clinical entity called post-partum depression that has to do with the change in the woman’s life, the change that her body just went through and some of the hormonal changes that occur right after delivery that make many women at high risk for suffering a major depressive episode."
He said pregnant women were not excluded from the 2009 recommendations, but they were not specifically highlighted either, despite their high-risk status.
Screenings include a standard Patient Health Questionnaire that should be found at any primary care facility. Treatment options vary, but often include medication or psychotherapy.
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