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Pregnant Women Advised To Undergo Depression Screenings Before And After Pregnancy

Update Date: Jan 28, 2016 09:03 AM EST

Almost 50% of women diagnosed with Postpartum Depression (PPD) exhibited symptoms linked to depression during pregnancy. For preemptive purposes, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) urges pregnant women to undergo depression screenings during and after giving birth based on a government-released set of guidelines.

The recently updated set of depression-screening recommendations is largely a response to a growing number of studies pointing to an increasing frequency of PPD among women.

According to report by Refinery 29, the advisory panel of experts deemed pregnant and postpartum women extremely vulnerable to anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, and a long list of other depressive risk factors.

"It's very significant that the task force is now putting forth a recommendation that's specific to pregnant and postpartum women. Policy makers will pay attention to it. Increased screening and detection of depression is an enormous public health need," remarked Katy Kozhimannil, an associate professor of public health at the University of Minnesota, as quoted saying by The New York Times.

Pundits expect that the recommended depression screenings will eventually become a staple component of primary care plans that healthcare companies provide to their clients.

"These recommendations are taking something that is good and making it even better. They no longer say 'when support is available' because they just assume that it's available. ... The care for depression in primary care settings is improving," said psychiatry professor Dr. Michael E. Thase of the University of Pennsylvania as stated in a CNN news article.

The revamped guidelines are recommended for people over 18 with stronger emphasis on the segments of the population that are statistically more at-risk than others including pregnant women as mentioned in an article written for The Verge.

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