Screening for postnatal depression in a population-based Swedish sample


Birgitta Wickberg, Department of Psychology, Göteborg University, Haraldsgatan 1, S-413 14 Göteborg, Sweden


This study surveyed the prevalence of postnatal depression and demographic factors associated with it in a Swedish population. A community sample of 1584 women was screened at 8 and 12 weeks postpartum using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). The point prevalence of depression, using a threshold of 11/12 on the EPDS, was 12.5% at 8 weeks and 8.3% at 12 weeks postpartum. The period prevalence for 8 to 12 weeks postpartum was 4.5%. A significantly increased risk of postnatal depression was found for single women. Parity, maternal age and occupational status were not found to be related to postnatal depression. The findings suggest that screening for postnatal depression is feasible at the time of postnatal checks on the baby, and that it can aid in the identification of women at risk for depression. A two-stage screening procedure will identify women at risk for more persistent postnatal depression.