Pregnancy and a new baby can bring a range of emotions. Many new and expecting parents feel overwhelmed, sad, anxious, or exhausted at different times during the perinatal period (the period that starts with pregnancy and extends at least 12 months after birth). Mental health disorders are common for parents to experience anytime during this period and include depression, anxiety, substance misuse, and psychosis. For example, we know that 1 in 7 moms and 1 in 10 dads suffer from postpartum depression.
To assist providers in recognizing and treating these disorders, the Bureau of Family Health offers consultation services and educational opportunities to improve provider capacity around perinatal mental health. We also have staff available to link families and providers to community and mental health resources that provide support during the perinatal period.
Recognizing Symptoms: Screening for Perinatal Depression
Act 188 of the 2022 Louisiana Regular Legislative Session requires Louisiana’s post-natal and pediatric providers to screen for the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression or related mental health disorders through a validated screening tool under the recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
The Louisiana Developmental Screening Guidelines follow the AAP recommendations of screening caregivers for postpartum depression at the 1, 2, 4, and 6-month well-child visits. Louisiana Medicaid will reimburse for these screenings when using the validated tools listed below – use CPT code 96161. Refer to the Medicaid bulletin and fee schedule for more information. You can learn more about the recommended screening tools and how to use them in the Developmental Screening Toolkit.
Other validated screening tools are available to screen pregnant and postpartum persons for depression, anxiety, substance use disorder, and social determinants of health. Click here for more information on those tools.
Perinatal Depression Screening Quick Guide for Providers
The Quick Guide for Caregiver Perinatal Depression Screening is another resource providers can reference when implementing screenings in pediatric clinic settings.
Mental Health Consultation Services for Providers
The Louisiana Mental Health Perinatal Partnership (LAMHPP) has licensed professionals with expertise in perinatal mental health who can provide guidance and support to other allied health professionals on screening, diagnosing, treating, and referring patients with perinatal mental health concerns. LAMHPP also offers providers access to:
- An online, statewide resource database that providers can access to search for mental health and other community resources for pregnant and postpartum persons.
- Web-based clinical tools and training
- On-site and virtual trainings on screening, identification, and management of common perinatal mental health concerns are available upon request. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information.
Providers working with pregnant and postpartum persons can access guidance on identification, treatment, and/or referral for mental health concerns by calling (504) 988-9171.
Mental Health Consultation for Pediatric Providers
For pediatric behavioral and mental health concerns in children ages 0-21, the Provider-to-Provider Consultation Line (PPCL) offers similar consultation services and educational opportunities. Visit ldh.la.gov/ppcl for more information.
Resources to Share with Families
Act 188 of the 2022 Louisiana Regular Legislative Session requires all hospitals and birthing centers that provide labor and delivery services to provide pregnant women with information about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Below are some resources you can share with families to help them learn about the signs, symptoms, treatment, and resource options for PMADS.
- Postpartum Support International (PSI)
- Families can call the PSI Help Line at 1-800-944-4773 or text “Help” to 800-944-4773 (971-203-7773 to text en Español)
- Materials for families