The early detection of postpartum depression: midwives and nurses trial a checklist

J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. Mar-Apr 2004;33(2):191-7. doi: 10.1177/0884217504262972.


Objective: To evaluate the use of a standard pen-and-paper test versus the use of a checklist for the early identification of women at risk of postpartum depression and to investigate the experiences of nurses in using the checklist.

Design: A prospective cohort design using repeated measures.

Setting: The booking-in prenatal clinic at a regional hospital in Victoria, Australia, and the community-based postpartum maternal and child health service.

Participants: 107 pregnant women over 20 years of age.

Main measures: Postpartum Depression Prediction Inventory (PDPI), Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS), Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), demographic questionnaire, and data on the outcome from the midwives and nurses.

Results: The PDPI identified 45% of the women at risk of depression during pregnancy and 30% postpartum. The PDSS and EPDS both identified the same 8 women (10%), who scored highly for depression at the 8-week postpartum health visit. Nurses provided 80% of the women with anticipatory guidance on postpartum depression in the prenatal period and 46% of women at the 8-week postpartum health visit. Nurse counseling or anticipatory guidance was provided for 60% of the women in the prenatal period.

Conclusion: The PDPI was found to be a valuable checklist by many nurses involved in this research, particularly as a way of initiating open discussion with women about postpartum depression. It correlated strongly with both the PDSS and the EPDS, suggesting that it is useful as an inventory to identify women at risk of postpartum depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis*
  • Depression, Postpartum / nursing*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Assessment*
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / nursing*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / nursing
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Victoria