Aims and objectives. The study was undertaken to provide an estimate of the prevalence of postpartum depression and its correlates. Further, we sought to evaluate the predictive power of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale when administered at postpartum week one for symptoms of depression at postpartum week six.
Background. Postpartum depression is a major health issue for women worldwide with well-documented negative health consequences for the mother and family. It is therefore important to evaluate prenatal detection of women at risk for developing postpartum depression.
Design. A prospective study.
Methods. The study involved 479 pregnant women in Erzurum, Turkey who were evaluated during the third trimester of pregnancy and at one and six weeks postpartum by community midwives. Questionnaires were used for data collection. Anxiety/social support scales were used for baseline evaluation, and the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale was administered at one and six weeks postpartum.
Results. The prevalence of depressive symptoms according to the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale was 17·7% at first week and 14% at sixth week postpartum. The factors that were most predictive of postpartum depression were psychiatric history during pregnancy; prenatal anxiety; poor marital relationship in the first postpartum weeks; lack of health insurance and lack of contraceptive use. The correlation between symptoms of depression at one and six weeks in the postpartum period was significant.
Conclusions. The prevalence of postpartum depression and its correlates were similar to the results of Western studies. Early identification of potential risk factors may aid in recognition of and treatment for postpartum depression. The Edinburgh scale is a simple yet useful tool to use during the early postpartum period for evaluation of depressive symptoms.
Relevance to clinical practice. This study highlights the utility of screening for risk of postpartum depression during pregnancy and also during the early postpartum period.