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Perinatal mental health screening: progress over time and who is missing out


Maternal mental health issues are common in the perinatal period (during pregnancy and the first postnatal year), with up to 20% of women reporting anxiety, depression or stress(1). Poor maternal mental health is associated with poorer birth outcomes and poorer child development due to effects on parenting practices, impaired attachment between mother and child, and reduced physical care (2-7). Screening for perinatal mental health issues is the first critical step in a pathway of care. Australian clinical practice guidelines recommend routine mental health screening during pregnancy and after birth, but current screening rates and changes over time are unknown