, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 97-103
Date: 28 Jan 2009

Antenatal psychosocial assessment: how accurate are we in determining ‘low-risk’ status? A pilot study

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Abstract

Routine Comprehensive Psychosocial Assessment was implemented antenatally at a public hospital in Sydney in 2000. The assessment, completed on all women, classifies them as (1) currently, or at high-risk of becoming, distressed, or, (2) not currently, or at low risk of becoming, distressed during the perinatal period. This pilot study followed up a sample of women (N = 50) from the latter group at 6 weeks postpartum to explore the accuracy of ‘low risk’ identification. All but one woman reported that they continued to do well during their pregnancy. By 6 weeks postpartum only one woman scored high on the validated depression measure though data from a semi-structured interview indicated that a further four women experienced sub-clinical difficulty in the early weeks postpartum. The antenatal classification of women as ‘low risk’ using this assessment method appears to be substantially accurate, though this finding needs to be replicated in a larger study.