Identification of postpartum depression

Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Sep;52(3):456-68. doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181b5a57c.


Postpartum depression (PPD) is the most common medical complication of childbearing. Universal screening maximizes the likelihood of prompt identification of PPD. Obstetrician-gynecologists routinely evaluate postpartum women for a general health examination and review of family planning options at approximately 6 weeks after birth; therefore, they are well positioned to identify PPD. In this study, we review the diagnostic criteria for postpartum depressive disorders and clinical risk factors predictive of PPD. We examine depression screening tools, appropriate cut-points associated with positive screens, the optimal timing for screening, and the acceptability of depression screening in obstetrical settings. Finally, we explore how to manage patients who screen positive for depression and treatment options for women with PPD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis*
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Panic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychological Tests
  • Risk Factors