Fiedler introduces Perinatal and Postpartum Screening Act

State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler announced her Perinatal and Postpartum Screening Act on March 19 in Harrisburg. Thee act would require that clinicians provide expectant and new mothers with information about perinatal or postpartum depression. 

PPD, a much more serious condition that is sometimes referred to as “baby blues,” is a more severe, longer-lasting type of depression that affects one in seven women after giving birth. 

Fiedler’s bill would also require that patients receive regular screenings for symptoms until their baby is 1 year old, so they can make an informed decision on pursuing further care, such as counseling. 

“Postpartum depression is incredibly common, but because of widespread stigma and lack of public education, many new mothers are left in the dark when it comes to their mental health,” Fiedler said. “Our hope for this bill is that it helps mothers prioritize their health, in their bodies and their minds.”  

The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Gina Curry and Rep. Lisa Borowski and is part of a “Momnibus” legislative package introduced by the PA Black Maternal Health Caucus. Other bills in the package propose expanding Medicaid coverage for doula services, requiring private insurance coverage of blood pressure cuffs for new parents, distributing “welcome baby kits” to some new mothers and more. 

Fiedler’s bill follows her goal of standing up for women’s health rights. Last year, Fiedler’s first bill was signed into law. It protects patients from nonconsensual pelvic exams while under anesthesia for unrelated reasons.