, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 223-229

Routine psychosocial assessment of women in the antenatal period: frequency of risk factors and implications for clinical services

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Routine psychosocial assessment was introduced at an Australian public hospital’s antenatal clinic in 2001. After modification, this assessment consists of 12 questions together with the Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS). Data are reported for responses to these questions from over 2,000 English-speaking women presenting to the clinic in a 12-month period. These 12 questions and the EDS were categorised into seven risk domains, with 12% of the women (n = 260) having three or more of these risk domains. Referral information to one of our two clinical services shows that 6.7% of women assessed in the antenatal clinic become clients having face–face counselling, and a further 7.2% have just telephone contact with this specialist perinatal mental health service. This information should prove useful for services considering implementing routine psychosocial assessments (or “screening”) in the antenatal period.