Perinatal Continuum of Care
Population: Perinatal/Infant Health, Cross-Cutting/System Building,
Topic Area: Mental Health,
NPMs: NPM 1: Well-Woman Visit NPM 2: Low-Risk Cesarean Delivery
The Perinatal Continuum of Care tool illustrates the myriad services that new and expectant families frequently encounter and describe opportunities to address perinatal mental health across these service sectors and highlights opportunities for providers from across sectors to support mental health and wellbeing for parents, caregivers, babies and families during pregnancy and early parenting. It demonstrates that we all have a role to play in helping families find the supports they need to thrive. Every service and support highlighted in the continuum of care represents a critical component of perinatal mental health and wellbeing. With the person at the center, the tool illustrates the importance of social connections, informal supports and self-care. Mental health and other critical intervention services, including substance use and interpersonal violence, are included. While there is an urgent need for these services, the continuum of care also demonstrates that perinatal mental health is dependent on so much more. Parent and community support, basic needs, and whole-person focused health services are also necessary. The Perinatal Continuum of Care includes a description of each service and support contained within the wheel of support. These descriptions highlight the relevance of the service to perinatal mental health, give examples of how professionals in this service area can promote perinatal mental health, and link to relevant resources. The continuum also includes cross cutting strategies that are applicable across sectors, including awareness and education, policy and advocacy, and integration of behavioral health. These are strategies that can be used within or across service sectors to promote perinatal mental health. In addition to supporting service delivery, the tool can be used to assess opportunities and gaps within the service system, allowing communities to improve their service landscape by understanding where they may need to build the capacity to support perinatal mental health.
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