What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a serious and debilitating illness that affects approximately 10%–20% of women who give birth.
There are no disparities in rates of postpartum depression by race and ethnicity
Impoverished women have about twice the rate of postpartum depression when compared to middle-class women. Women of different races or ethnicities have about the same rates of postpartum depression and rates of postpartum depression do not differ by race and ethnicity, but it does not conclusively demonstrate equal rates of illness across groups. Studies in which low-income mothers were systematically screened for clinical criteria indicate that rates of depression during the postpartum period are similar among Latinas, black women, and white women—8% for major depressive disorder and 23% for all depressive disorders in the first three months after delivery.
Racial and ethnic disparities in postpartum depression care
Contrary to similar rates of postpartum depression among races and ethnicities, studies have shown there were significant racial-ethnic differences in depression-related mental health care after delivery. Suboptimal treatment was prevalent among all low-income women in the study. However, racial and ethnic disparities in the initiation and continuation of postpartum depression care were particularly troubling and warrant clinical and policy attention.