New Personalized Digital Resources Assist Individuals in Navigating Behavioral Health Challenges Related to Pregnancy and the Transition to Parenthood
Livongo, the leading Applied Health Signals company empowering people with chronic conditions to live better and healthier lives, today announced that Livongo for Behavioral Health by myStrength has launched a comprehensive set of new evidence-based activities and tools to guide Members in addressing the physical and emotional challenges associated with pregnancy and early parenting. The new Pregnancy and Early Parenting program offers personalized content to all parents and expecting families; including mothers and fathers, partners, single parents, same-sex couples, those who adopt, and anyone else who is expecting a baby or has a child up to 3 years of age.
According to clinical experts, depression is the most common complication of childbirth for women.1 Roughly 70 to 80 percent of new mothers undergo mood swings or negative feelings after childbirth2 including up to 21 percent whose depression or anxiety symptoms rise to the level of a moderate to severe clinical disorder.3
When a mother experiences mood and anxiety symptoms, the partner is directly impacted, which can result in feeling upset, confused, and overwhelmed.4 In fact, one in 10 dads experience postpartum anxiety, mood, or depression challenges.5 When the mother is depressed, this increases to 50 percent of new fathers experiencing postpartum paternal depression.6
“Parents undergo a period of transition during pregnancy and new parenthood that can affect behavioral and physical health along with impacting the entire family ecosystem. Engaging individuals at a time when they can best use additional insights and tools is crucial. Our personalized digital support resources are interactive and work with the Member to access the exact support they need, while improving outcomes and reducing the cost of care delivery,” said Scott Cousino, Livongo’s Senior Vice President of Behavioral Health. “Whether new or expectant parents are interested in building everyday resiliency or seeking support to overcome physical or emotional challenges, Livongo’s unique, evidence-based Pregnancy and Early Parenting program will better support them along their journey.”
The societal costs and economic impact of untreated perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) in the United States are substantial. According to a recently released Mathematica research study, total societal cost of untreated PMADs in the U.S. is $14.2 billion for all births in 2017 when following the mother-child pair from pregnancy through five years postpartum. This amounts to nearly $32,000 in societal costs per mother with a PMAD and her child over a six-year time frame. Most of the costs are borne by employers and health care payers with the largest costs coming from productivity losses ($4.7 billion), maternal health expenditures ($2.9 billion), and obstetric-specific health expenditures.7
“We receive many requests and questions from our members around parenting issues, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are particularly important conditions that impact parents,” said Aetna Head of EAP and Chief Psychiatric Officer Dr. Hyong Un. “So many are affected by the spectrum of disorders that can impact biological and non-biological parents during pregnancy and postpartum, as well as other co-occurring health issues. Adding these Pregnancy and Early Parenting resources will help our members better manage this condition.”
Livongo for Behavioral Health by myStrength’s Pregnancy and Early Parenting program assists in easing the transition to parenthood through a core sequence of interactive activities and resources that include guided meditations, quizzes, testimonial videos, clinician videos and more. The program offers a strong introduction to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, relaxation, behavioral activation and other evidence-based approaches. Customized activities are based on the severity of mood symptoms; the specific parenting stage; and special circumstances including high-risk, medical issues, history of loss and more.
Livongo Members can now seamlessly manage their chronic conditions and behavioral health on one platform with a clinical-grade solution. The Pregnancy and Early Parenting program is immediately available on the Livongo for Behavioral Health by myStrength web experience and mobile app, adding to existing digital behavioral health programs including depression, anxiety, stress, substance use disorders (including opioid recovery), chronic pain, balancing intense emotions, mindfulness and meditation, sleep, and more.
1 Postpartum Support International. Depression During Pregnancy & Postpartum. https://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/depression-during -pregnancy-postpartum/. Accessed April 16, 2019.
2 American Pregnancy Association. Baby Blues: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. https://americanpregnancy.org/first-year-of-life/baby-blues/. Published Aprils 25, 2012. Accessed April 16, 2019.
3 Postpartum Support International. Postpartum Support International Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Fact Sheet. https://www.postpartum.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/PSI-PMD-FACT-SHEET-2015.pdf.
4 Postpartum Support International Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders Fact Sheet. https://www.postpartum.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/PSI-PMD-FACT-Sheet-2015.pdf
6 Postpartum Support International. International Father’s Mental Health Day. https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/resources-for-fathers/ifmhd/. Accessed April 16, 2019.
7 Luca, D.L., Garlow, N., Staatz, C., Margiotta, C., and Zivin, K. Societal Costs of Untreated Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders in the United States. Cambridge, MA: Mathematica Policy Research. April 29, 2019,