Pregnancy & Postpartum

wmhrp subcat Pregnancy

The Women’s Mental Health Research Program has worked collaboratively with researchers and clinicians in OB/GYN to increase provider and systems capacity to detect, diagnose and treat perinatal anxiety and depressive disorders in our patients. The majority of women who receive perinatal care at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System are low-income minorities and these women have significantly higher rates of perinatal depression compared to the rest of the population (Bennett et al., 2004). Our previous longitudinal work with pregnant women at UIC found that 39% of the women had depression at preconception, 36% during pregnancy, and 33% in the postpartum period (Rubin et al., 2011). The intended outcome of our perinatal mental health research is to increase awareness, reduce stigma and connect women to the care they need.


Healthy Behaviors in Women - Illinois MotherCare Project
PI: Vesna Pirec, MD, PhD
Co-I: Pauline Maki, PhD
The goal of this project was to develop, implement, evaluate and disseminate a model for integration of mental health and healthy eating into perinatal care clinic settings. Among the health issues linked closely with depression and posing substantial risks to women and their offspring, the most central is disordered eating. The project proposed to (1) develop a self-care tool and guided self-care process for women with perinatal depression and/or eating problems; (2) incorporate this self-care tool and process, along with evidence-based treatments, into a stepped-care disease management model that coordinates mental health care with prenatal care. This study was funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) from 2009-2012 (H59MC09957).


InterAgency Agreement with HFS
PI: Vesna Pirec, MD, PhD
Co-I: Pauline Maki, PhD
The goal of this grant was to: 1) Deliver workshops on screening, assessment, and treatment of perinatal mental health issues across Illinois; 2) Maintain a national consultation service for providers with questions of perinatal mental health, and; 3) Create a perinatal mental health protocol, medication chart and provider tool kit. This study was funded by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services from 2011-2012.

Bennett, H.A., et al., Prevalence of depression during pregnancy: systematic review. Obstet Gynecol, 2004. 103(4): p. 698-709.
Rubin, L.H., et al., Perinatal depressive symptoms in HIV-infected versus HIV-uninfected women: a prospective study from preconception to postpartum. J Womens Health (Larchmt), 2011. 20(9): p. 1287-95.

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