Postpartum depression (PPD) is the most common pregnancy-related complication affecting over half-million mothers each year in the United States and only 50% of these women seek treatment or even receive a mental health evaluation (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2015; Horowitz & Goodman, 2004). Failure to detect or diagnose PPD can have serious consequences for both mom and baby. Nurses play a key role in discharge teaching and education, which puts them in the perfect position to ensure that adequate referrals are coordinated and to stress the importance of follow-up care to new mothers (Logsdon et al., 2018). Current practice includes nurses providing discharge teaching and education with postpartum patients prior to discharge but no screening for PPD is required to be completed. Nurses can identify at-risk women and provide effective referrals or prevention strategies by administering the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) prior to the new mother’s discharge. Screening for PPD is not a standard part of in-hospital maternal care in the United States (Logsdon et al., 2018). The current practice needs to be changed in order to increase detection of patients at risk for PPD and to increase their education on the screening process so that they know what symptoms to look for in the coming weeks and months of their postpartum journey.
Date of publication
MSN Capstone Project
Masters in Nursing
Ramirez, Mary, "Early Screening of Postpartum Depression" (2020). MSN Capstone Projects. Paper 69.