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Peripartum depression (formerly known as postpartum depression) is the most common complication of childbearing, affecting at least one of eight deliveries. Pregnancy exacerbates mental health issues due to financial, social and physical stresses; the mother carries these issues into delivery and beyond.  Peripartum depression impacts mother-infant bonding, resulting in lasting child development and behavioral problems, in addition to substantial mental and physical health problems for the mother.  Factors such as poor support systems, poverty, drug abuse, etc. make the needs of the mother all the more urgent.

Cherokee Health System has embraced a health care delivery which integrates the care of an OB/GYN, a Pediatrician and a Behavioral Health Care provider in the care of the new mother and her baby during and following pregnancy.  Mothers who bring their babies in for check-ups will receive the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Screening at every visit for the first six months, can be visited by their OB/GYN in the pediatric office and can consult with a mental health provider all in one visit. Any needed follow-up can, of course, extend beyond six months.  Any Depression Screening Score of 10 or higher can be reacted to immediately with professional help instantly on site.

Mothers who bring their babies to Cherokee for their appointments in the first six months after their child’s birth will be eligible to be enrolled in this program regardless of their physical or mental health status. For questions or concerns please call the clinic at (865)544-0406.