Woman's Hospital Announces Plans to Open Louisiana's First Inpatient Mental Health Unit

Woman’s Hospital will open Louisiana’s first inpatient mental health unit solely dedicated to serving the specialized needs of pregnant and postpartum women. A perinatal mental health unit is scheduled to open at Woman’s in September 2024.

“Mental health challenges are a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in our country. A perinatal mental health unit at Woman’s Hospital will be designed to address these issues as we strive to move the needle on maternal health and mortality rates,” says Senior Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer Cheri Barker Johnson, MSN, RNC-OB.

A perinatal mental health unit at Woman’s will be one of only several in the United States dedicated solely to the specialized needs of pregnant and postpartum women. The proposed 10-bed unit at Woman’s will allow mothers time with their newborns, as their condition permits, which is a critical step in the healing process and allows them to be among others facing similar challenges.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, maternal mental health conditions, such as anxiety, perinatal and postpartum depression, and birth-related PTSD, are among the most common complications of pregnancy and childbirth, affecting one in five women. Of those affected, 75% go untreated. Additionally, mental health conditions are a leading cause of maternal mortality in the United States.

“As the largest provider of maternity care for women in Louisiana, it’s our responsibility to address all aspects of perinatal health. By meeting the needs of women experiencing pregnancy or postpartum-related mental health conditions, Woman’s Hospital advances our mission of improving the health of women and infants,” says Rene Ragas, president and CEO of Woman’s.

About Woman’s Hospital

Woman’s is a specialty hospital for women and infants located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Since opening in 1968, it has welcomed more than 375,000 babies, making it one of the largest delivery services in the country and the largest in Louisiana. Additionally, Woman’s operates a level III-S neonatal intensive care unit; this designation allows them to care for infants who are extremely premature, are critically ill or require surgical intervention. The hospital is also recognized for its expertise in mammography as well as breast and gynecologic cancer care. As a private, nonprofit organization, all funds are reinvested into the hospital to continue Woman’s mission to improve the health of women and infants through the latest technology, a highly qualified staff and critical community programs and services.