[Skip to Navigation]
February 12, 2019

Preventing Perinatal Depression to Improve Maternal and Child Health—a Health Care Imperative

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland
  • 2Regional Offices, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland
JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(4):313-314. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.5491

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued a new recommendation statement1 concerning pregnant and postpartum women at an increased risk of developing perinatal depression. Based on an evidence report and systematic review on preventive interventions for perinatal (pregnancy or postpartum) depression,2 the USPSTF recommends that clinicians provide or refer pregnant and postpartum women who are at increased risk of perinatal depression to counseling interventions. The review found convincing evidence that cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy counseling interventions are effective in preventing perinatal depression in women at increased risk. The USPSTF concluded that there is moderate certainty of moderate net benefit of counseling interventions for women at an increased risk of perinatal depression with any potential harms being small and provided an evidence grade of B, indicating that provision of the service is recommended. This new recommendation is an important step forward in improving the health of mothers and families affected by perinatal depression. However, the recommendation also highlights the need to overcome barriers to implementation of screening and preventive interventions for depression in this population and the need for further research on other preventive interventions that may be easier for health systems to implement and for new mothers and mothers-to-be to access.