women's health screeningPrevention. How much suffering could we prevent if postpartum depression screening was universal?

I believe in preventive medicine, so I was very interested when I received an online newsletter from the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition a week or so ago, and in it they proudly pointed out all the benefits that started this month for pregnant and new moms thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

I decided I’d take a closer look to see if postpartum depression screening was one of them. The benefits were chosen based on the Guidelines for Women’s Preventive Services created by the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) and adopted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They include:

1) gestational diabetes screening

2) counseling on sexually transmitted diseases

3) contraception

4) AIDS testing

5) comprehensive breastfeeding support

6) domestic violence screening and education

7) a yearly well visit

8) cervical cancer screening

All of these benefits will be covered with no out-of-pocket costs to the women receiving them.

Not included? Postpartum depression screening.

Just thought you should know.

I wonder when the IOM and HHS will see fit to start recommending postpartum depression screening for all women? I might point out that gestational diabetes only occurs in around 2-10% of the pregnant population, according to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, whereas PPD occurs in 10-20% (depending on who you ask) of the postpartum population.

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