Postpartum depression may affect crucial early development phases of the mother infant
dyad and contribute to short-and long-term adverse child outcomes that can lead to cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral problems that last into adolescence. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was developed to assess postpartum depression. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics endorse screening within the primary care setting to decrease adverse long-term effects to the infant of a depressed mother.
As a quality improvement project, utilization of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was implemented within the primary care setting with screening at 2-, 4-, and 6-month well child visits. Repeated Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles were utilized to provide structure for iterative testing during implementation of postpartum depression screening. Results were collected employing chart review and electronically generated reports. Interpretation and scoring of each scanned EPDS were independently verified. Project concluded pediatric providers are in position to universally screen for postpartum depression, as part of the holistic care they provide for their patient, the child. Implementation of postpartum depression screening is feasible and yields positive screenings requiring follow-up and diagnosis with trained adult mental health or primary care physicians.