May 11, 2016
1 min read

Effective postpartum depression screenings require follow-up mental health visit

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

Recent findings in Harvard Review of Psychiatry suggest screening for postpartum depression should occur soon after delivery and then throughout the postpartum period and requires follow-up mental health evaluation to be effective.

“Postpartum depression remains vastly underdiagnosed and undertreated, despite widespread consensus regarding its prevalence and potentially devastating consequences,” Erin K. Smith, MD, of Western Psychiatric Institute and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and colleagues wrote.

To assess screening for postpartum depression as applicable to the general psychiatrist, researchers conducted a literature review of 61 articles published since 1987.

Analysis indicated the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is the most widely used screening tool for postpartum depression.

Screening for postpartum depression should occur soon after delivery, with subsequent screening at multiple timepoints during the postpartum period, according to researchers.

Primary care, pediatric and obstetric settings are all practical locations for screening, but may be ineffective without follow-up mental health evaluations.

Data were limited regarding optimal patterns for screening in psychiatric settings or for the psychiatrist’s role in managing perinatal depression.

“Postpartum depression screening is recognized to be important for detection, feasible to carry out across locations, and useful in facilitating early diagnosis and treatment for women,” Smith and colleagues wrote. “When used alone, screening does not increase the likelihood that women will receive treatment and follow-up.” – by Amanda Oldt

Disclosure: Please see the full study for a list of all authors’ relevant financial disclosures.