Treating postpartum mood and anxiety disorders in primary care pediatrics

Polina Umylny, Miguelina German, Alexa Lantiere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Postpartum psychiatric disorders represent a significant public health problem that has not been readily addressed, particularly in the primary care setting. As maternal mood and anxiety difficulties are associated with a number of adverse outcomes for the mother, her offspring and the family system, addressing these concerns during the perinatal period is of critical importance. Although researchers and clinicians have become increasingly aware of the problem, postpartum mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) remain widely unrecognized and poorly understood by both patients and providers. As pediatric primary care providers encounter mothers repeatedly throughout the postpartum period, the pediatric clinician has the unique opportunity to intervene with mothers suffering from mental illness. Given the potentially devastating impact of PMADs across multiple domains, the purpose of this article is to provide guidelines for pediatric clinicians to better manage maternal mental illness within the primary care pediatric setting. As such, we review the categories and prevalence of PMADs and provide strategies for responding to a positive PMADs screen or concerns raised during surveillance of the mother–infant-dyad. In addition, we offer a summary of the literature on evidence-based treatments for PMADs to allow pediatricians to guide the parents of their patients towards the most effective interventions. Finally, we provide an overview of alternative treatment models that can facilitate the screening and treatment of behavioral health concerns within the primary care setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-266
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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