Maternal mortality and psychiatric morbidity in the perinatal period: challenges and opportunities for prevention in the Australian setting

Chris Austin, S KILDEA, E SULLIVAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

� Maternal mortality associated with psychiatric illness in the perinatal period (pregnancy to the end of the first year postpartum) has until recently been under-reported in Australia due to limitations in the scope of the data collection and methods of detection. � The recent United Kingdom report Why mothers die 2000-2002 identified psychiatric illness as the leading cause of maternal death in the UK. � Findings from the last three reports on maternal deaths in Australia (covering the period 1994-2002) suggest that maternal psychiatric illness is one of the leading causes of maternal death, with the majority of suicides occurring by violent means. � Such findings strengthen the case for routine perinatal psychosocial screening programs, with clear referral guidelines and assertive perinatal treatment of significant maternal psychiatric morbidity. � Data linkage studies are needed to measure the full extent of maternal mortality associated with psychiatric illness in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-367
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Volume186
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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