Exclusive: Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Senior Medical Director talks COVID-19 and prenatal care

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Blue Cross Blue Shield Health of America recently released its report on maternal health, which included several alarming points related to women’s health.

Dr. Anne Schmidt, Senior Medical Director of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama expressed her own concerns she has had with COVID-19 and women’s health.

“One thing about pregnancy is this isn’t an elective procedure that can maybe be postponed or put off,” Schmidt said. “It’s critical that women be able to keep all of their prenatal visits as scheduled. Knowing that and then also knowing that the CDC just last week added women who are pregnant to their list of people who might be at higher risk for serious outcomes of COVID if they do catch the coronavirus is really concerning. So we want to do all we can at blue cross to make sure that we expand access as widely as possible for our members who are pregnant.”

The report suggested many women are experiencing more pre-existing behavioral health issues linked to postpartum depression. According to Schmidt, that is one of the most concerning factors that came from the report.

“We saw nationwide there’s been a 30% increase in women diagnosed with postpartum depression just since 2014,” Schmidt said. “We know that women who come into pregnancy with any underlying behavioral health conditions so say depression or anxiety and or substance use disorder, they’re more likely to develop postpartum depression, but we also know that one-third of women don’t have any underlying behavioral health conditions going into pregnancy and still can develop this. So just really want to encourage everybody, if you’re having symptoms, if you’re feeling anxious or sad, if it’s affecting how you’re able to cope or function to just please reach out. Your obstetrician can make a referral for you, your primary care doctor, and blue cross members can also go to alabamablue.com and use our provider finder and find a network health provider near you. And remember that our telehealth expansion included behavioral health also so there are options available, if you need help, we just encourage everyone please reach out.”

To see the full interview, watch the video posted above. To learn more about Blue Cross Blue Shield, visit there website here.

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