Original Contribution

Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 105-112

First online:

Tailoring screening protocols for perinatal depression: prevalence of high risk across obstetric services in Western Australia

  • Janette BrooksAffiliated withWestern Australian Perinatal Mental Health Unit Email author 
  • , Elizabeth NathanAffiliated withWomen’s and Infant’s Research Foundation Inc., King Edward Memorial Hospital
  • , Craig SpeelmanAffiliated withSchool of Psychology and Social Science, Edith Cowan University
  • , Delphin SwalmAffiliated with
  • , Angela JacquesAffiliated withWomen’s and Infant’s Research Foundation Inc., King Edward Memorial Hospital
  • , Dorota DohertyAffiliated withSchool of Women’s and Infants Health, University of Western Australia, King Edward Memorial Hospital

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Given what appears to be an ever-increasing list of concerning consequences of perinatal depression, longitudinal studies have much to offer when considering the timing and efficacy of prevention and intervention strategies. The course of depressive symptomatology across the perinatal period at four obstetric services was investigated utilising Western Australian data collected as part of the beyondblue National Postnatal Depression Program. Pregnant women completed one or two Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) assessments during pregnancy and a demographic and psychosocial risk factors questionnaire. One or two EPDS assessments were administered within 12 months postpartum. Prevalence of high risk scores across gestational ages ranged from 14% to 5% during pregnancy and 6% to 9% in the postnatal period. For women who were screened twice, the prevalence of high risk scores appeared earlier and decreased with advancing gestation (p = 0.026). The prevalence of postnatal high risk increased after 12 weeks postpartum (p = 0.029). Screening protocols for depressive symptomatology during pregnancy may need to be fine-tuned across individual hospitals, and take into account gestational ages, in order to be most effective. As depressive symptomatology persists postnatally, screening protocols may need to extend beyond 12 weeks postpartum.


Perinatal depression Psychosocial screening