About the Initiative

About the Issue: It's not just postpartum, and it's not just depression.

Historically, much of the research on women's mental health related to pregnancy has been on depression that occurs after the birth of a baby. A number of studies have tried to estimate how many women experience depression within the first year after childbirth. According to the most recent statistics, as many as 13% of women in the United States report frequent symptoms of depression after childbirth. However, researchers suspect that many women go undiagnosed and that the actual number of women who experience depression may be much higher.

Current research indicates that this condition can occur outside of the postpartum period and includes more than just depression. During pregnancy and after childbirth, women can experience both depression and anxiety disorders as well as other mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, psychosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

These conditions can have profound effects on the health of the mother and her child.

Learn more by watching Prenatal and Perinatal Anxiety and Depression (login required)  , a webinar hosted by the National WIC Association.

Key Activities Around the Initiative

This initiative is designed to educate consumers and health care providers about who is at risk for depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy, the signs of these problems, and how to get help. The first phase of outreach focuses on educating consumers using free materials, including an action plan, posters, and tips that family and friends can use to start a conversation about this issue with their loved one. ​View or order f​ree patient education materials​​.​

A later phase of the initiative includes a continuing education activity for health care providers. It discusses the latest research about depression and anxiety that occur around pregnancy and best practices surrounding the screening of women during and after pregnancy.

Other Program Initiatives


Full-Term Pregnancy Definition

Learn why a pregnancy is now considered "full term" at
​39 weeks.​​​​

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