A Mobile Application for Monitoring and Management of Depressed Mood in a Vulnerable Pregnant Population

Psychiatr Serv. 2018 Jan 1;69(1):104-107. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201600582. Epub 2017 Oct 16.


Objective: This study tested whether a mood tracking and alert (MTA) mobile application (app) improved mental health care delivery in a high-risk obstetric population.

Methods: Pregnant women with depressive symptomatology at <32 weeks gestation were followed for eight weeks after randomization to a control patient portal (PP) app alone or with the MTA app. The MTA app monitored activity, assessed mood, and alerted obstetric providers of signs of worsening mood.

Results: Seventy-two women enrolled (PP, N=24; MTA, N=48). MTA users had significantly more contacts addressing mental health, and as gestational age increased, they rated ability to manage their own health significantly better than women in the control group. Women who received telephone contact from a provider triggered by an MTA app alert were significantly more likely to receive a mental health specialist referral.

Conclusions: A mobile MTA app improved service delivery and patient engagement among patients with perinatal depression symptoms.

Keywords: mobile application; obstetrics; perinatal depression; prenatal care; smartphone application.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / instrumentation
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / methods*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology
  • Prenatal Care / methods*
  • Telemedicine / instrumentation
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Young Adult