CDC Activities

Learn about depression among women and CDC activities to address this important health topic.

Depression Among Women

Depression is a common and serious illness, affecting 1 out of 10 women aged 18-44 years. Depression can affect many areas of life; women with depression are at a higher risk of substance use and developing chronic diseases. Almost 9 out of 10 women with depression have one or more chronic disease risk factors (smoking, binge or heavy drinking, and physical inactivity) or chronic conditions (e.g. diabetes, obesity). However, depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated. About 6 out of 10 women with depression do not receive a diagnosis. Additionally, only about half of women suffering from depression receive treatment. Reasons for not receiving care include cost, belief that treatment would not be helpful, and stigma.

CDC Activities

image of a mother holding her infant

CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health (DRH) works to improve the mental health of women through research and assistance to other organizations.

CDC/DRH is currently involved in a study that aims to improve, evaluate, and deliver a low-cost and sustainable program to address depression during and after pregnancy. This randomized control trial is being conducted in Massachusetts. The control group is enhanced usual care (consultation and care coordination) through access to the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP) for Momsexternal icon. The intervention group, Program in Support of Moms (PRISM), is designed to help Obstetric and Gynecology practices address the significant public health issue of depression during and after pregnancy. PRISM aims to close gaps in health care delivery to ensure that women with depression during and after pregnancy receive the best treatment, which can result in improvement in their symptoms.

Additionally, CDC’s DRH analyzes data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the National Survey Drug Use and Health and other sources to provide national and state-level information about the prevalence of and risk factors for depression, as well as related health conditions, pregnancy outcomes, and diagnosis and treatment of depression. DRH also assists states and nongovernmental organizations to perform similar activities and to develop public health strategies for addressing mental health among women.

Below you will find titles of recent publications related to depression among women authored by staff in CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health. You can review abstracts of our reports and other publications by using the resources of the National Library of Medicine’s PubMedexternal icon service.

Recent Publications List

  1. Recorded Diagnoses of Depression During Delivery Hospitalizations in the United States, 2000–2015external icon
  2. Trends in Postpartum Depressive Symptoms, 27 states, 2004, 2008, 2012
  3. Smoking Before and During Pregnancy Among Women Reporting Depression or Anxietyexternal icon
  4. Provider communication on perinatal depression: a population-based studyexternal icon.
  5. Evaluating universal education and screening for postpartum depression using population-based data.external icon
  6. Maternal mortality and morbidity in the United States: where are we now?external icon
  7. Postpartum anxiety and comorbid depression in a population-based sample of women.external icon
  8. Preconception health among women with frequent mental distress: a population-based study.external icon
  9. Health care utilisation in the first year of life among infants of mothers with perinatal depression or anxiety.external icon
  10. Brief scales to detect postpartum depression and anxiety symptoms.external icon
  11. Depression and treatment among U.S. pregnant and nonpregnant women of reproductive age, 2005–2009.external icon

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