Too Little, Too Late: A Critical Review of the ACOG Committee Opinion on Perinatal Mental Health Screening
Current paradigms of maternal health can also be understood through close examination of the published work and public statements of the medical establishment. Enter The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) latest committee opinion on screening for perinatal depression. Published in May of this year ACOG’s Committee Opinion Number 631 regarding screening for depression and anxiety in the perinatal period, with the stated purpose “to increase awareness of depression and mood disorders in pregnant and postpartum women” recommends screening pregnant and postpartum women once during the perinatal period, replacing the previous 2010 opinion stating that screening was not recommended due to “insufficient evidence”. The change of opinion is noteworthy. In this article I will first review the stated ACOG recommendations and the rationale used to support them, with careful attention paid to the quality of supporting evidence in the document. Secondly, I review the screening instruments recommended and juxtapose current understanding of barriers to screening for obstetric providers.
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