20% of pregnant Australian women don’t receive the recommended mental health screening

20% of pregnant Australian women don’t receive the recommended mental health screening

One-fifth of Australian women still don’t receive mental health checks both before and after the birth of their baby, our research has found. Although access to recommended perinatal mental health screening has more than tripled since 2000, thanks largely to government investment in perinatal mental health, our surveys show there is still some way to go before every mum gets the mental health screening needed.

Mental health issues are one of the most common complications of pregnancy. Up to 20% of women report anxiety or depression either during pregnancy or in the first year after their baby is born.

Maternal anxiety and depression are associated with problems including premature birth and low birth weight. They can also impact child development through effects on parenting practices and impaired bonding.

In 2019, the cost of perinatal depression and anxiety was estimated at A$877 million.

Australia has invested substantially in perinatal mental health screening. From 2001 to ...

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