Prevalence & Range of Disorders

  • Maternal Mental Health disorders, like postpartum depression, are the leading complication of childbirth, impacting 1 in 5 U.S. women.1
  • It’s not just Depression: There are a range of Maternal Mental Health (MMH) disorders, which include depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and psychosis.  
  • It’s not just the Postpartum: Maternal depression occurs as frequently during the pregnancy as it does during the postpartum period. 2 

Why It Matters

  • Depression during pregnancy can cause preterm birth and babies with low birth weight.3  
  • Untreated maternal mental health disorders can lead to negative early childhood development outcomes.4  
  • Untreated Maternal Mental Health disorders are estimated to have an annual economic cost of 14.2 billion dollars.5

A Leading Cause of Preventable Maternal Death

  • According to the CDC, Maternal Mental Health Conditions (suicide and overdose) are the leading cause of pregnancy-related death (maternal mortality).6 

Detection and Treatment 

  • Screening is the process used to detect mental health disorders. It consists of a questionnaire used to understand if/what symptoms exist.
  • Though awareness and federal efforts have been increasing, less than 20% of women are screened for MMH disorders7
  • Less than 15% of women receive treatment for maternal depression:8
    • 15% receive treatment for postpartum depression
    • 13% receive treatment for depression during pregnancy
    • Less than 9% receive adequate treatment
    • Less than 5 % achieve remission

Risk Factors

  • A history of prior psychiatric disorders increases a woman’s risk of developing a maternal mental health disorder.9  
  • Those living in poverty suffer PPD at double the rates of those who don’t live in poverty.10 
  • With a greater number of women unable to terminate unplanned pregnancies, rates of depression and anxiety are expected to rise significantly.


  • People of color have an increased risk for maternal mental health disorders, like depression:
    • Up to 30% of American Indians & Alaskan Natives suffer from PPD11
    • Up to 40% of Black and Latina moms suffer from PPD, twice the rate of their White counterparts12
  • Latina and Black women are 57% and 41%, respectively, less likely to start treatment for maternal depression than White women.13
  • Gen Z is more than twice as likely as Boomers to suffer from a mental health disorder14 

    1. Gavin, N. I., Gaynes, B. N., Lohr, K. N., Meltzer-Brody, S., Gartlehner, G., & Swinson, T. (2005). Perinatal depression: A systematic review of prevalence and incidence. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 106(5 Pt 1), 1071–1083. ↩︎
    2. Pearson, R. M., Carnegie, R. E., Cree, C., Rollings, C., Rena-Jones, L., Evans, J., Stein, A., Tilling, K., Lewcock, M., & Lawlor, D. A. (2018). Prevalence of Prenatal Depression Symptoms Among 2 Generations of Pregnant Mothers: The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. JAMA Network Open, 1(3), e180725. ↩︎
    3. Grote, N. K., Bridge, J. A., Gavin, A. R., Melville, J. L., Iyengar, S., & Katon, W. J. (2010). A Meta-analysis of Depression During Pregnancy and the Risk of Preterm Birth, Low Birth Weight, and Intrauterine Growth Restriction. Archives of General Psychiatry, 67(10), 1012–1024. ↩︎
    4. Koutra, K., Roumeliotaki, T., Kyriklaki, A., Kampouri, M., Sarri, K., Vassilaki, M., Bitsios, P., Kogevinas, M., & Chatzi, L. (2017). Maternal depression and personality traits in association with child neuropsychological and behavioral development in preschool years: Mother-child cohort (Rhea Study) in Crete, Greece. Journal of Affective Disorders, 217, 89–98. ↩︎
    5. Luca, D. L., Garlow, N., Staatz, C., Margiotta, C., & Zivin, K. (2019, April). Societal Costs of Untreated Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders in the United States. Mathematica. ↩︎
    6. Trost, S., Beauregard, J., Chandra, G., Njie, F., Goodman, D., Berry, J., & Harvey, A. (2022, September 26). Pregnancy-Related Deaths: Data from Maternal Mortality Review Committees in 36 US States, 2017–2019 | CDC. ↩︎
    7. Burkhard, J., & Britt, R., (2022, November 14). U.S. Maternal Depression Screening Rates Released for the First Time Through HEDIS. Policy Center for Maternal Mental Health [Formerly 2020 Mom] ↩︎
    8. Cox, E. Q., Sowa, N. A., Meltzer-Brody, S. E., & Gaynes, B. N. (2016). The Perinatal Depression Treatment Cascade: Baby Steps Toward Improving Outcomes. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 77(9), 20901. ↩︎
    9. Johansen, S. L., Stenhaug, B. A., Robakis, T. K., Williams, K. E., & Cullen, M. R. (2020). Past Psychiatric Conditions as Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression: A Nationwide Cohort Study. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 81(1), 18405. ↩︎
    10. Chaudron, L. H., Szilagyi, P. G., Tang, W., Anson, E., Talbot, N. L., Wadkins, H. I. M., Tu, X., & Wisner, K. L. (2010). Accuracy of depression screening tools for identifying postpartum depression among urban mothers. Pediatrics, 125(3), e609-617. ↩︎
    11. Heck, J. L. (2021). Postpartum Depression in American Indian/Alaska Native Women: A Scoping Review. MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 46(1), 6. ↩︎
    12. Howell, E. A., Mora, P. A., Horowitz, C. R., & Leventhal, H. (2005). Racial and ethnic differences in factors associated with early postpartum depressive symptoms. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 105(6), 1442–1450. ↩︎
    13. Kozhimannil, K. B., Trinacty, C. M., Busch, A. B., Huskamp, H. A., & Adams, A. S. (2011). Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Postpartum Depression Care Among Low-Income Women. Psychiatric Services, 62(6), 619–625. ↩︎
    14. American Psychological Association. (2018). Generation Z stressed about issues in the news but least likely to vote. Stress in America. Stress In America. ↩︎