March 16, 2023
Providers can help our members during and after pregnancy by screening for depression using a standard tool, such as the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9 or -2. OB/GYNs and primary care providers are encouraged to refer our members for follow-up care with a behavioral health care provider, when appropriate.
Why Screening Matters
One in seven women experience major depression during pregnancy or the first year after childbirth, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The rate is higher for women of color. Untreated depression puts women at risk for premature delivery, severe depression and suicide, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for depression among adolescents and adults, including pregnant and postpartum women.
- USPSTF recommends providing or referring individuals who are at increased risk of perinatal depression to counseling interventions.
See our preventive care guidelines.
Supporting Quality Care
We track two quality measures focused on maternal mental health:
Prenatal Depression Screening and Follow-Up (PND-E) measures the percentage of deliveries in which members:
- Were screened for clinical depression during pregnancy using a standardized instrument, and
- Received follow-up care within 30 days if the screening was positive
Postpartum Depression Screening and Follow-Up (PDS-E) measures the percentage of deliveries in which members:
- Were screened for clinical depression using a standardized instrument during the postpartum period, and
Received follow-up care within 30 days if the screening was positive
Tips to Close Gaps in Care
- Discuss with our members ways to overcome potential barriers to care, including access to prescribed medications.
Coordinate care between behavioral health and other health care providers. Consider case management.
- Reach out to members who cancel appointments and help them reschedule as soon as possible.
Earn Continuing Education Credit
We’re offering a free webinar, Maternal Mental Health: Pregnancy and Postpartum, April 3 and April 5, 2023. Learn how to register and watch our other webinars here.
The above material is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician or other health care provider. Physicians and other health care providers are encouraged to use their own medical judgment based upon all available information and the condition of the patient in determining the appropriate course of treatment. The fact that a service or treatment is described in this material, is not a guarantee that the service or treatment is a covered benefit and members should refer to their certificate of coverage for more details, including benefits, limitations and exclusions. Regardless of benefits, the final decision about any service or treatment is between the member and their health care provider.