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Nurses' Association Praises Postpartum Depression Legislation

NEWS RELEASE: April 22, 2005
CONTACT: Gretchen Wright, 202-371-1999

Calling the legislation, crucial to the health and lives of hundreds of Texas women and their children, the Texas section of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) pledged its support yesterday for a bill that would investigate the costs and benefits of providing 12 months of mental health services to Texas women on Medicaid who are diagnosed with postpartum depression. AWHONN Texas Section Legislative Coordinator Vivian Gamblian, MSN, RN testified yesterday before the House Subcommittee on Life and Health Insurance in support of HB 3411.

"We know that when we are able to provide therapy for women with postpartum depression, it improves the care that they are able to give their infants," said Gamblian. "Research has shown that infants of mothers with postpartum depression, even when the mother is not harming the child in any way, will exhibit decreased growth and development due to decreased social interactions with the mother."

The legislation, introduced by Representative Garnet Coleman, would require the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of providing 12 months of mental health services under Medicaid to women who are diagnosed with postpartum depression and eligible for medical assistance.  An estimated ten to 15 percent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. In Texas, this represents a minimum of 38,700 women.

"Providing postpartum depression therapy coverage for 12 months is very important," said Gamblian. "Women who suffer from postpartum depression may not exhibit signs and symptoms early in their pregnancy, but without intervention symptoms may not go away on their own, and may, in fact, get worse over time."
A leader among the nation's nursing associations, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) serves and represents more than 22,000 health care professionals in the Us, Canada and abroad. AWHONN members are committed to delivering superior health care to women and newborns in hospitals, in home health and ambulatory care settings. AWHONN members' rich diversity of skills and experience make AWHONN the voice for women's health and neonatal nursing. The AWHONN website was one of the top-rated nursing organizations' sites reviewed by Medicine on the Net in 2003. Visit AWHONN on the World Wide Web at

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