November 1st 2005
A number of highly publicized cases in the lay press have underscored the significance of, and dangers associated with, perinatal psychiatric illness. Unfortunately, the field of psychiatry has failed to use these tragic cases to disseminate accurate information and educate the public about the high frequency of perinatal depression and anxiety, as well as the relative rarity of postpartum psychosis and infanticide. Moreover, psychiatrists continue to have difficulty in educating their medical colleagues about the need to screen for these illnesses, so most obstetricians and pediatricians still do not screen for perinatal depression and anxiety, much less manage it effectively. Decisions about appropriate treatment are further complicated by a lack of empiric outcome data.