The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has concluded that all adults should be screened for depression, with a particular need for screening in women who are pregnant or have recently given birth. As many as 1 in 10 women experience significant depressive moods while pregnant or following their delivery.
The task force emphasizes that "depression can harm both the child and mother, interfering with their interactions and affecting social relationships and school performance," as Medline reports. But screening and follow-up treatments may be within easy reach. Dr. Michael Pignone says that "primary care physicians should be able to treat most cases of uncomplicated depression, and refer more complex cases to a psychiatrist," or they could refer patients to psychologists for cognitive-behavioral therapy, as Elizabeth Saenger suggests. MedlinePlus notes that practitioners may use simple questionnaires for initial screenings.