Postpartum depression assessments at well-baby visits: screening feasibility, prevalence, and risk factors

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2005 Dec;14(10):929-35. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2005.14.929.


Background: Postpartum depression (PPD) is a disorder with broad public health implications and consequences that impact almost every aspect of child development.

Methods: In this pilot study, study participants were 96 women who brought their babies to the University of Arizona Pediatrics Clinic for their 8-week well-baby visit. Participants completed a packet that consisted of questions about demographics, potential correlates of PPD, and the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS). English and Spanish versions were available.

Results: Of a total of 172 women who brought their babies in for their 8-week well-baby visit, 96 women completed the packets, for an overall response rate of 56.9%. Observed EPDS scores ranged from 0 to 18, with a mean of 5.44 and a standard deviation (SD) of 4.83. Using the cutoff of EPDS > or = 12, 14.6% of participants were likely suffering from clinically significant depression. Higher EPDS scores and also categorical depression classification were statistically associated with reported smoking and a family history of mental health problems.

Conclusions: We conclude that screening for mothers at well-baby visits is feasible and that the data collected are of sufficient quality to identify reliable predictors even with small sample sizes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arizona / epidemiology
  • Child Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis*
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Welfare / prevention & control*
  • Infant Welfare / statistics & numerical data
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mental Disorders / complications
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Postnatal Care / methods*
  • Postnatal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires