Incorporating recognition and management of perinatal and postpartum depression into pediatric practice

Pediatrics. 2010 Nov;126(5):1032-9. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-2348. Epub 2010 Oct 25.


Every year, more than 400,000 infants are born to mothers who are depressed, which makes perinatal depression the most underdiagnosed obstetric complication in America. Postpartum depression leads to increased costs of medical care, inappropriate medical care, child abuse and neglect, discontinuation of breastfeeding, and family dysfunction and adversely affects early brain development. Pediatric practices, as medical homes, can establish a system to implement postpartum depression screening and to identify and use community resources for the treatment and referral of the depressed mother and support for the mother-child (dyad) relationship. This system would have a positive effect on the health and well-being of the infant and family. State chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics, working with state Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) and maternal and child health programs, can increase awareness of the need for perinatal depression screening in the obstetric and pediatric periodicity of care schedules and ensure payment. Pediatricians must advocate for workforce development for professionals who care for very young children and for promotion of evidence-based interventions focused on healthy attachment and parent-child relationships.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology
  • Depression, Postpartum / therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Father-Child Relations
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Maternal-Child Health Centers
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Object Attachment
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Pediatrics
  • Perinatal Care*
  • Physician's Role
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States