When depression complicates childbearing: guidelines for screening and treatment during antenatal and postpartum obstetric care

Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2009 Dec;36(4):771-88, ix-x. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2009.10.006.


Prevalence studies show that 1 in 5 women experience an episode of major depressive disorder during their lifetime. The peripartum period is a prime time for symptom exacerbation and relapse of depressive episodes. Health care providers, specifically those in obstetric care, should be aware of: (1) the frequency of depression in pregnant and postpartum women; (2) signs, symptoms, and appropriate screening methods; and (3) the health risks for the mother and growing fetus if depression is undetected or untreated. Because management of depressed peripartum women also includes care of a growing fetus or breastfeeding infant, treatment may be complex and requires input from a multidisciplinary team, including an obstetrician, psychiatrist, and pediatrician, to provide optimal care.

MeSH terms

  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / therapy
  • Depression, Postpartum / complications
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis
  • Depression, Postpartum / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Postnatal Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy
  • Prenatal Care
  • United States