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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 9, 2019 12:33 PM
From: Representative Meghan Schroeder
To: All House members
Subject: Postpartum Screening

I plan to introduce legislation that will help women be identified through a better system of screening during gestation and childbirth that are dealing with mental health issues like postpartum depression and anxiety (PPD/A).

Mom’s mental health matters. When we talk about postpartum depression and anxiety, we need to make sure we are screening new moms and all perinatal mental health needs of women. Pennsylvania has the opportunity to be a leader in PPD/A to ensure that women are receiving the treatments and consultations that they need. Many women do not come forth to their healthcare provider and say they are suffering because they are unaware of the symptoms and/or feel embarrassed or sad to talk with someone. We need to make sure we are checking back in with new mom’s or women who have other perinatal trauma after their six weeks postpartum visit.

Many times the initial screening results are on the border-line for treatment, and in those cases the topic may never be addressed again by a medical professional. The issue with our current guidelines of screening recommendations for PPD/A and other mental health illnesses associated with pregnancy are that women are being screened while they are going through all types of stress – emotionally and physically. This type of screening “environment” allows many women to fall through the cracks because the test can be easily manipulated, meaning if a woman wants to talk to someone or not that visit, they can answer the screening questions depending on their desired outcome.

We should make sure our recommended screening tests are the best and check-ins are effective and catch women suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety. We always talk about depression in this arena, but never directly talk about anxiety and the other mental health issues that women can get from being pregnant. Prenatal and postnatal screenings will help track, monitor and prevent mothers from suffering from postnatal illnesses.

Catching postpartum symptoms before they develop will improve quality of life of new moms and help save the lives of countless mothers.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.