How do new mothers perceive screening for perinatal depression?
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Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland
Department of Psychology, Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport, Gdansk, Poland
Submission date: 2020-08-27
Final revision date: 2020-12-14
Acceptance date: 2020-12-15
Online publication date: 2021-01-18
Publication date: 2021-01-18
Health Psychology Report 2021;9(3):207–216
Countries recognize the risk of mental health difficulties during the perinatal period and the potential benefits of screening and early detection of depressive symptomatology. This study aimed to analyse mothers’ views on screening for postpartum depression (PPD) in Poland, where a new standard of perinatal care imposed (from January 2019) the obligation to monitor women’ postpartum mental state.

Material and methods:
150 women participated in the study. In the first stage, PPD symptoms were assessed with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) among postpartum women during midwives’ home visits. The second stage consisted of a telephone survey with the EPDS and questions exploring mothers’ perception of midwife competencies in screening for PPD.

Most women identified as relatively high midwives’ competencies in communicating information about PPD, interpretation of the EPDS score and their ability to create comfortable conditions of the assessment and further discussion about postpartum mental health changes. Women with an elevated level of PPD symptoms assessed as significantly lower midwives’ competence in this last aspect and those who had a caesarean section tend to assess as lower the usefulness of provided information on care of a newborn.

Midwives should be aware and prepared for a possible critical attitude of patients, which may be a sign of a depression. Otherwise, medical staff may not be willing to interact with a mother and offer her help and support. The ability to create a friendly condition in spite of adversity can contribute to the desire of women to undergo screening, discussion about the result and further treatment.

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