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Racial Disparities in Maternal Mental Health Outcomes

NOMINATED TOPIC | June 3, 2022

1. What is the decision or change (e.g. clinical topic, practice guideline, system design, delivery of care) you are facing or struggling with where a summary of the evidence would be helpful?

We are seeking greater understanding of racism and racial disparities in mental health outcomes during pregnancy and postpartum and the strategies used to address this issue. An evidence summary would be helpful in developing a future evidence-based statement or guideline that provides practitioners caring for pregnant and postpartum individuals with information on racism and racial disparities in mental health outcomes and what strategies can be used to address this issue.

Questions:
1. What populations are most impacted by racism and racial disparities in mental health outcomes during pregnancy and postpartum? Are there data on outcomes associated with racism?
2. What strategies can be used to address racism and racial disparities in mental health outcomes during pregnancy and postpartum?
Population: pregnant and postpartum individuals
Interventions and Comparators: culturally informed care, cultural competency provider education and training, communication strategies, health equity initiatives vs usual care
Outcomes: provider knowledge, utilization of health care resources, patient satisfaction, patient mental health outcomes

2. Why are you struggling with this issue?

Perinatal mental health outcomes vary due to race and racial disparities. For example, studies have shown White women are more likely to get a diagnosis and treatment for postpartum depression compared to Black or Latina women.1 Additionally, current screening tools for postpartum depression may require improvement due to differences among cultures and races; however further study is needed.2 Identification of literature focused on racism and racial disparities in perinatal mental health care and strategies used to address this issue will aid in improving mental health care for pregnant and postpartum individuals impacted by racism and racial disparities.

1Hansotte E, Payne SI, Babich SM. Positive postpartum depression screening practices and subsequent mental health treatment for low-income women in Western countries: a systematic literature review. Public Health Reviews 2017;38:1-17.
2Chiu YM, Sheffield PE, Hsu HL, Goldstein J. Curtin PC, Wright RJ. Subconstructs of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale in a multi-ethnic inner-city population in the U.S. Arch Women Ment Health 2017;20:803-810.

3. What do you want to see changed? How will you know that your issue is improving or has been addressed?

We want to see mental health outcomes improve for pregnant and postpartum patients impacted by racism and racial disparities. Ideally, this issue will be addressed when strategies are utilized by clinicians that improve perinatal mental health outcomes in patients impacted by racism and racial disparities.

4. When do you need the evidence report?

Mon, 06/03/2024

5. What will you do with the evidence report?

The evidence report will be used by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to potentially develop a future clinical consensus or clinical practice guideline document. Therefore, an evidence report will help support development of future evidence-based recommendations used by practitioners to address racism and racial disparities in mental health outcomes during pregnancy and postpartum.

Optional Information About You

What is your role or perspective? Professional Organization

If you are you making a suggestion on behalf of an organization, please state the name of the organization American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

May we contact you if we have questions about your nomination? Yes

Page last reviewed June 2022
Page originally created June 2022

Internet Citation: Racial Disparities in Maternal Mental Health Outcomes. Content last reviewed June 2022. Effective Health Care Program, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
https://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/get-involved/nominated-topics/racial-disparities

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