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What does postpartum depression and anxiety feel like?
- Extreme sadness, most of the day and nearly every day;
- Irritability or anger;
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness;
- Feeling hopeless and overwhelmed.
It's important for health-care providers to have conversation with patient about perinatal depression. Providers are advised to approach the discussion of perinatal depression in a non-stigmatizing, non-judgemental, culturally safe, and trauma-informed way.
Health-care providers should seek informed consent when screening for depression and anxiety, including an explanation of the purpose of screening, the message that screening is a part of usual care, and that results remain confidential.
Pregnant individuals should be screened for depression at least once – but preferably at every visit throughout pregnancy – and in the postpartum period.
Screening of antenatal and postpartum depression should be done using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) tool. The EPDS can be completed by the pregnant individual independently or administered by a health-care provider. This tool has been translated and validated in at least 18 languages, and translated versions are available.
It is important to ask about past history or family history of depression and previous treatment. Partners may also experience depression and anxiety. Screening of partners is also recommended, where possible.
Resources for patients:
Resources for health-care providers: