About the Guide

The Lifeline for Moms Guide for Integrating Mental Health Care into Obstetric Practice, developed by members of the Lifeline for Moms Program at UMass Chan Medical School, provides strategies for operationalizing mental health screening, assessment, treatment, referral, monitoring, and follow-up in obstetric practices. It provides a step-by-step process for implementing a three-phase approach: plan, implement, and sustain. Communication isn’t listed as a specific step throughout this process, but it remains, as in all quality improvement (QI) initiatives, critical, and must happen during every stage of the process.

While this process has common core elements, it must also be tailored for each unique practice setting; for example, how to start and where to focus implementation efforts will vary among practices.

Recognizing the gender diversity within the group of patients receiving obstetrical care, we use the term “perinatal individuals” throughout these materials to describe individuals who are pregnant or up to one year after the end of pregnancy.

Phase 1: Plan

Prepare and Organize 


  1. Establish Implementation Champions
  2. Establish the Practice QI Team
  3. Complete a Baseline Assessment
  4. Draft Specific, Measurable Perinatal Mental Health Care Goals
  5. Develop a Workflow to Address Perinatal Mental Health Conditions
  6. Identify Tasks, Roles, and Responsibilities to Achieve Goals

Phase 2: Implement

Change, Integrate, and Adapt 


  1. Provide Training for Obstetric Care Clinicians and Clinical Staff
  2. Implement Changes Based on Goals and Workflow

Phase 3: Sustain

Assess and Revise


  1. Evaluate Implementation and Review Progress toward Goals
  2. Revise Procedures Based on Lessons Learned and Continue Iterative Improvement Process


Video Series

Overview of Resources

Watch the first video in the four-part series for an overview of the resources developed to build clinician capacity to integrate mental health care into obstetric practice.


The guide is supported by Strengthening Public Health Services for Pregnant and Postpartum Women through National Partnerships through the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under the terms of cooperative agreement number 18-1802. The contents of this guide are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the CDC.