Acceptability of antenatal screening for depression in routine antenatal care

Aust J Adv Nurs. Mar-May 2007;24(3):14-8.


Objective: The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is generally recognised as a valid, reliable, cost-effective and simple tool to implement within routine care, however there is controversy regarding the acceptability of screening for depression. This paper aims to examine how acceptable women find (1) completing a battery of questionnaires, including the EPDS and (2) receiving feedback from midwives regarding the significance of their EPDS score when being screened for depression as part of routine antenatal care.

Design: Telephone interviews with women following completion of the questionnaire battery and receiving feedback from midwives.

Setting: Antenatal primary care in a hospital setting.

Subjects: Community sample of 407 women screened by midwives in antenatal clinics.

Main outcome measures: Information regarding women's experience of participating in the screening process.

Results: 100% of women reported that the screening experience was acceptable and not upsetting. Almost 50% reported that the screening process raised their awareness of perinatal depression. No woman reported feeling stigmatised, labelled or distressed by the screening process. Women reported that gaining immediate feedback from midwives was reassuring.

Conclusion: This study strongly supports the acceptability of routine screening for perinatal depression in the context of registered midwife support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Queensland
  • Surveys and Questionnaires