Perinatal Mental Health: The Need For Broader Understanding And Policies That Meet The Challenges

Emily C. Dossett, Alison Stuebe, Twylla Dillion, Karen M. Tabb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Perinatal mental health is gaining recognition as a key antecedent of adverse maternal and child outcomes as the United States experiences a maternal mortality and morbidity crisis. Recent policy efforts have attempted to mitigate adverse outcomes through legislation such as the Taskforce Recommending Improvements for Unaddressed Mental Perinatal and Postpartum Health (TRIUMPH) for New Moms Act of 2021 and postpartum coverage through Medicaid expansion. Even with progress, perinatal mental health policy continues to grapple with a basic truth: The United States lacks an overarching health care system capable of meeting the mental health care needs of perinatal people and their families.  Moreover, the burden of undiagnosed and untreated perinatal mental health challenges remains greatest among racially minoritized populations, such as Black, Asian, and multiracial people. A broader understanding of perinatal mental health is needed, grounded in the tenets of reproductive justice. From this perspective, we articulate specific policies to meet perinatal mental health challenges and promote thriving for birthing people and their families.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-469
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024


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