The Detection of Postnatal Depression in General Practice Using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale

N Z Med J. 1995 Feb 22;108(994):57-9.


Aim: To determine how many women with postnatal depression were detected with the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale at the 6 week postnatal examination.

Method: One hundred and twenty-one women attending this general practice for their six week postnatal examination completed the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale (EPDS); a score of greater than 12.5 was used to predict the likelihood of postnatal depression. Postnatal depression was defined as a major depressive illness according to the DSM III criteria, occurring in the 12 months following delivery.

Results: Seven women had postnatal depression and six of these women scored over 12.5 with the EPDS. Eight women had other depressive disorders (depressive disorders that did not reach DSM III criteria) and five of these scored over 12.5. Those scoring over 12.5 had a 64% risk of having some form of depressive disorder. Those scoring under 12.5 had only a 4% risk of postnatal depressive disorder. (1% risk of postnatal depression and 3% risk of other depression).

Conclusion: The EPDS is an easily completed and well accepted 5 minute questionnaire which reliably identified most women with postnatal depression and other depressive disorders in this general practice.

MeSH terms

  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Puerperal Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Puerperal Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*