Mammography Among Utah Women: A 2023 Update
Although mammography is widely recognized as an important tool in the fight against breast cancer, Utah remains one of the lowest-ranking states for mammography screening.
Pregnancy, giving birth, and caring for a newborn are challenging. Most mothers naturally experience the “baby blues” during the first two weeks after delivery, when they report feeling anxious, irritable, overwhelmed, or weepy. Usually, these symptoms resolve on their own within two weeks. Some women, however, experience mental health concerns beyond the baby blues, such as postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. It is estimated that one in eight women in the US report postpartum depression symptoms. Symptoms of depression interfere with daily life and can include feeling sadness, guilt, or hopelessness; loss of interest in activities; changes in energy, sleep, and appetite; irritability; difficulty concentrating; withdrawing from social relationships; and, sometimes, thoughts of hurting oneself or others.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) is a term used to encompass a range of disorders that can occur during pregnancy or up to one year postpartum. Mood disorders include depression or bipolar disorder. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder may also occur. Combined, these disorders are common complications of pregnancy, affecting up to 20.0% of mothers.
This research snapshot summarizes data about PMADs in Utah, reviews relevant information for patients and healthcare providers, and aims to raise awareness about this issue so that more women receive appropriate screening and care. The snapshot is organized in the following areas:
Overall, the data suggest that Utah screening rates need to improve, particularly as women seek healthcare prior to becoming pregnant. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends the following:
Individuals who screen positive should be fully assessed for a diagnosis and then should discuss treatment options with their provider. Treatment is based on severity of illness and may include conservative measures, therapy, and/or medications. Conservative measures include sleep, exercise, and discussing social support. Patients and providers should use risk/benefit assessments to select treatment plans. For mothers who have several risk factors, the United States Preventative Task Force recommends preventative therapy and support groups.
Women concerned they are experiencing symptoms of PMADs should talk with their obstetrics provider if they are pregnant or within the first six weeks postpartum; they may also talk with their primary care provider for an evaluation and a discussion of treatment options. The obstetrics or primary care provider can screen, diagnose, and discuss treatment options. If needed, they may refer women to a specialist in maternal mental health.
Many play a role in supporting individuals experiencing PMADS and ensuring positive outcomes.
Given the high rates of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, continued research is crucial to inform both policy and practice and to help new mothers most at risk. Through evidence-based policy adjustments, Utah can improve PMADs screening rates and access to quality care. As Utahns become educated about specific risk factors of PMADs, and as individuals seek appropriate care and treatment, more Utah mothers and their families will thrive.
To learn more about maternal health among Utah women, read the full snapshot.