Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 277–285 | Cite as

The Pregnancy Depression Scale (PDS): a screening tool for depression in pregnancy

  • Lori L. Altshuler
  • Lee S. Cohen
  • Allison F. Vitonis
  • Stephen V. Faraone
  • Bernard L. Harlow
  • Rita Suri
  • Richard Frieder
  • Zachary N. Stowe
Original Contribution


Depression in pregnancy can be underdiagnosed as a consequence of the symptoms being misattributed to “normal pregnancy.” There are currently no validated clinician-rated scales that assess for depression specifically during pregnancy. We sought to develop a brief, convenient screening tool to identify depression in pregnant women in the community setting. Prospective mood data using the 28-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) were collected monthly in 196 pregnant women with a history of a major depressive disorder. These data were analyzed to delineate those HDRS items associated (elevated) with normal pregnancy vs. those indicative of a pregnant woman meeting diagnostic criteria for a major depressive episode. Endorsement of symptoms on seven items of the HDRS were highly predictive of having a major depressive episode during pregnancy. We present a well-validated, brief scale to screen pregnant women for clinical depression. Whether this study will generalize to women who do not have a history of major depression remains to be studied.


Pregnancy Depression Screening Rating scale 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lori L. Altshuler
    • 1
  • Lee S. Cohen
    • 2
  • Allison F. Vitonis
    • 3
  • Stephen V. Faraone
    • 4
    • 5
  • Bernard L. Harlow
    • 6
  • Rita Suri
    • 1
  • Richard Frieder
    • 7
  • Zachary N. Stowe
    • 8
  1. 1.Mood Disorders Research Program, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry Clinical Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Obstetrics and Gynecology Epidemiology CenterBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Upstate Medical UniversityState University of New York Upstate Medical UniversitySyracuseUSA
  5. 5.Department of Physiology, Upstate Medical UniversityState University of New York Upstate Medical UniversitySyracuseUSA
  6. 6.Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  7. 7.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Family MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  8. 8.Women’s Mental Health Program, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of MedicineEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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