One in five California women/birthing people* suffers from depression, anxiety, or both while pregnant or after giving birth, negatively impacting the mother/birthing person and the child. Despite this high prevalence of mental health issues, few women/birthing people receive treatment. CHCF is working with partners to better understand this issue and to explore innovative, practical solutions for delivering mental health care to California’s mothers/birthing people in need.
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are the most common medical complications affecting women/birthing people during pregnancy and after childbirth. They include prenatal and postpartum depression and/or anxiety, bipolar disorder, and in extreme cases, postpartum psychosis. According to the California Department of Public Health’s Maternal and Infant Health Assessment (MIHA), 21% of pregnant and postpartum women/birthing people in California are affected. The prevalence is estimated to be even higher in some populations. For example, one in four Black and Latinx mothers/birthing people in the state reports depressive symptoms, as do half of all mothers/birthing people living in poverty.
Left undetected and untreated, PMADs can lead to negative health outcomes for the mother, and can negatively affect the mother-child bond and the child’s long-term physical, emotional, and developmental health. Additionally, there can be significant financial costs of untreated maternal mental health conditions (e.g., more use of emergency care services, higher rates of absenteeism at work).