Walker Karraa, PhD, a well-known speaker and advocate on the issue of perinatal mental health has created a petition on WhiteHouse.gov asking that every pregnant and postpartum woman receive a mental health screening. Walker writes for Lamaze International and spent eight years as a DONA certified birth doula who specialized in supporting women with a prior history of trauma or mood disorders. The petition reads:
“Suicide is a leading cause of death for women during the first year after childbirth. 1 in 7 women will experience a mood or anxiety disorder during pregnancy or postpartum, yet nearly 50% remain untreated. In pregnancy, maternal mental illness negatively effects fetal development, and leads to adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight and premature delivery. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) can impair infant and early childhood cognitive and emotional development. Despite overwhelming empirical evidence, there is no universal mandate for care providers to screen pregnant and postpartum women for depression, anxiety, or family history of mental illness–a well established risk factor. Screen every mother, every time to prevent and treat perinatal mental illness.”
If 100,000 signatures are received by April 4th, the government, by law, must start a discovery task force to consider the issue. To sign the petition:
Consider sharing this petition so that as many people as possible can learn about this initiative.
— Adrianne Gordon, CD(DONA)