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Maternal Mental Health

Mental health conditions are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth, affecting 1 in 5 mothers every year in the United States. Suicide and overdose are the leading causes of death in the first year postpartum, and the majority of these deaths are preventable. 75% of women experiencing maternal mental health conditions are left untreated and undiagnosed. These statistics demonstrate the need for additional advocacy, education, and collaboration to better improve maternal health outcomes.


1 in 5 women experience a mental health issue during the perinatal period1


Less than 15% receive treatment2


20% of deaths in postpartum period due to suicide3


38% of birthing persons reported mental health as the top postnatal complication4

AAMC Maternal Mental Health Learning Series

The AAMC launched a free five-part learning series titled Improving Maternal Mental Health Outcomes: Varied Approaches to Closing the Gap of Care. The goals of the series are to amplify the work of academic medical centers and nonprofit organizations in this space, convene health care providers and experts to share knowledge, and provide key takeaways for attendees. Maternal mental health is an integral part of AAMC’s Action Plan 7 and accessing maternal mental health services remains a barrier for many. Each webinar highlights ways in which academic medical centers and nonprofit organizations are working to fill the gaps of care that birthing people need at such a critical time. Access the recordings, key takeaways, and accompanying resources.

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For more information, email mentalhealth@aamc.org.

  1. Source: Fawcett EJ, Fairbrother N, Cox ML, White IR, Fawcett JM. The Prevalence of Anxiety Disorders During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period: A Multivariate Bayesian Meta-Analysis. J Clin Psychiatry. 2019 Jul 23;80(4):18r12527. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31347796/
  2. Source: Puspitasari AJ, Heredia D, Weber E, Betcher HK, Coombes BJ, Brodrick EM, Skinner SM, Tomlinson AL, Salik SS, Allen SV, O'Grady JS, Johnson EK, L’amoureux TM, Moore KM. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder Management in Multicenter Community Practices: Clinicians’ Training, Current Practices and Perceived Strategies to Improve Future Implementation. J Prim Care Community Health. doi: 10.1177/2150132721996888
  3. Source: Campbell, J., Matoff-Stepp, S., Velez, M. L., Cox, H. H., & Laughon, K. (2021). Pregnancy-Associated Deaths from Homicide, Suicide, and Drug Overdose: Review of Research and the Intersection with Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of women's health (2002), 30(2), 236–244. doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2020.8875
  4. Source: AAMC Center for Health Justice. From Pregnancy to Policy: The Experiences of Birthing People in the United States. https://www.aamchealthjustice.org/media/3391/download?attachment. Accessed September 2023.