WORCESTER, MA—While depression screening is recommended for all pregnant veterans, it had remained unknown how often symptomatic women received care, how depression treatment presented in practice, and whether women veterans were utilizing treatment during the appreciable perinatal period.

A report in Psychiatric Quarterly provided some answers.1

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts and the VA Central Western Massachusetts focused on a sample of 142 pregnant veterans from 15 VHA medical facilities. All had Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale scores of 10 or greater.

The study team employed a telephone survey to collect information on sociodemographic characteristics, military service, health utilization and pregnancy-related factors. Most of the sample, 70%, had one or more mental health visits or antidepressant prescriptions during pregnancy.

Results of the survey indicated that women with a history of depression had more mental health visits and a higher percentage of antidepressant use before and during pregnancy than women without a history of depression.

Researchers pointed out that pregnant women veterans without a history of depression might be less likely to receive care for depression during pregnancy.

They added, “However, the majority of our veterans showing depression symptoms prenatally had at least one mental health visit or an antidepressant medication fill during their pregnancy window, suggesting that mental health care is readily available for women veterans.”

  1. Kroll-Desrosiers AR, Crawford SL, Moore Simas TA, Clark MA, Mattocks KM. Treatment and Management of Depression Symptoms in Pregnant Veterans: Varying Experiences of Mental Health Care in the Prenatal Period [published online ahead of print, 2020 Feb 1]. Psychiatr Q. 2020;10.1007/s11126-019-09676-7. doi:10.1007/s11126-019-09676-7