MOTHERS Act Passes Senate


mother-child_care1The MOTHERS act has become part of the Senate’s health reform bill. This law, if passed, provides for education and screening about post-partum depression and related mood disorders.

Supporters of the bill believe it will help to lessen the stigma about maternal mood disorders and get more women the help they need. Opponents claim it will provide the pharmaceutical industry an insidious mechanism to push dangerous.

As passed, the MOTHERS act would not mandate screening for depression for all pregnant women. There is a separate amendment being promoted by Senator Barbara Mikulski that would create a mandate for that.

On the one hand I appreciate the need for better educational and treatment resources for maternal mood disorders. Post-partum depression is a real thing and it sucks. A lot. According to the bill, “Baby blues afflicts up to 80 percent of new mothers, postpartum depression occurs in 10 to 20 percent of new mothers, and postpartum psychosis strikes 1 in 1,000 new mothers.” That’s a lot of sad mommies.

On the other hand, I dislike anything that encourages pregnant women to think of themselves as even more at-risk and fragile. I’d certainly find it hard to support any measure that made screening for post-partum depression mandatory.

What do you think? Is the MOTHERS act a boon to pregnant women and new moms, or a slippery slope toward even more unnecessary medical intervention?

Photo: Renee