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Keywords:

  • Depression;
  • High-risk pregnancy;
  • Mental health;
  • Women's health

Objective:  To determine the prevalence of depression and its correlates in pregnancy and to establish the appropriateness of using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale with inner-city, high-risk pregnant women.

Design:  Convenience sample of women enrolled in a prenatal outreach program. Women were recruited and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was administered during home visits.

Participants:  39 women, most of whom were Aboriginal, participating in a prenatal outreach program.

Main Outcome Measure:  Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score of ³10 suggests minor depressive symptoms and ³13 suggests probable major depression.

Results:  27% of women reported symptoms consistent with major depression. The Aboriginal women had higher levels of depressive symptoms than the non-Aboriginal women. Women who had stopped using tobacco or alcohol during pregnancy had more depressive symptoms than those who had quit before pregnancy. Acceptability of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale for use with high-risk, Aboriginal, and non-Aboriginal pregnant women was supported.

Conclusions:  The prevalence of depressive symptoms and concurrent substance use within this population is a major public health problem. Nurses can incorporate the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale into routine prenatal visits to identify women at risk for depression. JOGNN, 35,491–498; 2006. DOI: 10.1111/J.1552-6909.2006.00064.x