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Perinatal Mental Health Screening: A Primer for Lactation Specialists

by Cynthia Good, MS, LMHCA, IBCLC, CATSM
  • Duration: 1439 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 L-CERP
  • Handout: Yes

Research and clinical experience show that perinatal mental health challenges are common in expectant and new parents and both influence and are influenced by the experience of lactation. Because of this interconnection, lactation specialists often must respond to perinatal mental health challenges in the context of providing lactation support services. IBCLCs have the ethical duty to “assist and support the mother and family to identify strategies to cope with peripartum mood disorders,” “assess and provide strategies to initiate and continue breastfeeding when challenging situations exist/occur,” and to make “necessary referrals to other health care providers.” This presentation 1) presents the ethical rationale for screening and referring clients for perinatal mental health challenges, 2) clarifies the difference between screening and diagnosis, 3) introduces a step-by-step approach to implementing perinatal mental health screening, and 4) gives instruction on the use of free, validated tools to screen for perinatal depression, anxiety, and trauma.

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: Explain the difference between mental health screening and diagnosis
Objective 2: List 8 steps that lactation specialists can follow to implement screening and referring clients for perinatal mental health challenges
Objective 3: Name two free, validated tools that can be used by lactation specialists to screen for perinatal depression, anxiety, and trauma