ACOG Committee Opinion No. 343: psychosocial risk factors: perinatal screening and intervention

Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Aug;108(2):469-77. doi: 10.1097/00006250-200608000-00046.


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advocates assessing for psychosocial risk factors and helping women man-age psychosocial stressors as part of comprehensive care for women. Psychosocial screening of all women seeking pregnancy evaluation or pre-natal care should be performed regardless of social status, educational level,or race and ethnicity. Because problems may arise during the pregnancy that were not present at the initial visit, it is best to perform psychosocial screen-ing at least once each trimester to increase the likelihood of identifying important issues and reducing poor birth outcomes. When screening is completed, every effort should be made to identify areas of concern, validate major issues with the patient, provide information, and, if indicated, make suggestions for possible changes. When necessary, the health care provider should refer the patient for further evaluation or intervention. Psychosocial risk factors also should be considered in discharge planning after delivery. Many of the psychosocial issues that increase the risk for poor pregnancy outcome also can affect the health and welfare of the newborn. Screening should include assessment of barriers to care, unstable housing, unintended pregnancy, communication barriers, nutrition, tobacco use, substance use,depression, safety, intimate partner violence, and stress.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Domestic Violence / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • United States