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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. The Psychiatric quarterly. 2020 Jun 1; 91(2):475-493.
Depression screening is recommended for all pregnant veterans; however, little is known on how often symptomatic women receive care, how depression treatment presents in practice, and whether women veterans are utilizing treatment during the appreciable perinatal period. Our sample included 142 pregnant veterans from 15 Veterans Health Administration (VA) medical facilities with Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) scores 10. Sociodemographic characteristics, military service, health utilization, and pregnancy related factors were collected as part of a telephone survey. A majority of our sample (70%) had 1 or more mental health visits or antidepressant prescriptions during pregnancy. 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. Pregnant women veterans without a history of depression may be less likely to receive care for depression during pregnancy. 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.