A task force suggests doctors refer women to counseling even before their babies are born to prevent postpartum depression
Concerned with the growing numbers of women who suffer from postpartum depression after giving birth, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force published recommendations suggesting doctors refer at-risk women for counseling to pre-empt Postpartum depression (PPD), even if while they're still pregnant.

Research data says that one in seven women suffer from postpartum depression, and that number is alarming. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force is battling that with new recommendations that doctors refer at-risk women for counseling in an effort to prevent them from developing PPD.

Related: Postpartum Depression Changed the Way I Parent

The recommendations were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and requests doctors refer at-risk pregnant and postpartum for counseling and mental health interventions.

The recommendations are based on the school of thought that recognizing at-risk women and referring them for therapy may prevent them from actually developing PPD, or have less severe symptoms should they still.


Some of the noted risk factors are women who have histories of depression, teen mothers, women with limited social support, those who have families with depression history, moms of multiples and mothers of children born after loss, among other risk factors.

Karina Davidson is a clinical psychologist and researcher who is a member of the task force. She said that she believes we can prevent postpartum depression with more focus, and that it's high time the United States made an effort to do so. She said that there is evidence that suggests finding women who are at risk for depression during pregnancy or after their baby is born can help prevent them from getting PPD if they are given counseling.

Related: Postpartum Pain May Be Linked To Increased Postpartum Depression

It's not just important for maternal mental health either, as studies show children who have early and chronic exposure to their mother's depression are at-risk for their own social-emotional problems and psychopathology.

And considering PPD can be so devastating to not just mother but baby too, every step toward helping all mothers is a step in the right direction.