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Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Print version ISSN 2237-6089On-line version ISSN 2238-0019


MORAES, Gustavo Paranhos de Albuquerque et al. Screening and diagnosing postpartum depression: when and how?. Trends Psychiatry Psychother. [online]. 2017, vol.39, n.1, pp.54-61. ISSN 2238-0019.


Prevalence rates of postpartum depression (PPD) vary widely, depending on the methodological parameters used in studies: differences in study populations, diagnostic methods, and postpartum time frame. There is also no consensus on the ideal time to perform screening, on whether PPD can only be diagnosed in the early postnatal period, or on how soon after a delivery depression may be related to it.


To review which instruments have been used over recent years to screen and diagnose PPD and the prevailing periods of diagnosis.


Only articles published within 5 years and related exclusively to screening and diagnosis were selected. The sample comprised 22 articles.


The Edinburgh Posnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) was the most common screening tool, used in 68% of the sample (15 articles), followed by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) (27%, 6 articles), and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) (18%, 4 articles). Screening time frame was reported in 21/22 articles: 0 to 3 months postpartum in 9 (43%), up to 6 months in 4 (19%), and up to 12 months or more in 8 (38%). In short, 13 articles screened during the first 6 months (59%) while only 8 (36%) screened up to 1 year.


The most frequent PPD diagnosis tool was the EPDS, but other scales were also used. The most common period for diagnosis was up to 3 months postpartum. However, some researchers diagnosed PPD 12 months or more postpartum. Greater standardization of parameters for investigation of this disease is needed.

Keywords : Postpartum depression; perinatal depression; postnatal depression; screening; diagnosis.

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