Researchers have identified a screening tool that may help diagnose depressive symptoms and other mental disorders in early pregnancy. The study, published in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, indicates that questions typically asked new mothers to screen for depression after giving birth can also help to detect mental disorders during early pregnancy.
“The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale seems to be a valuable screening tool to detect depressive symptoms as well as other mental disorders during early pregnancy,” said researchers, including Caroline Lilliecreutz from the Linköping University in Sweden.
For the study, the team analyzed 2,271 women with questions that are part of what’s called the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. The team found that 85 percent of women with a score of 13 or higher had one or more mental disorders or risk factors for mental disorders during early pregnancy.
In total, 149 (6.6 percent) women were found to be screen-positive. The majority (126, 85 percent) had at least one mental disorder or risk factor for a mental disorder, such as depression (36.0 percent), anxiety (14.8 percent), or severe fear of childbirth (20.8 percent).
The screen-positive women were more often smokers (16.1 percent vs 1.3 percent), unemployed (19.9 percent vs 1.3 percent), or on sick leave (25.3 percent vs 14.1 percent) during pregnancy and more often used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor during pregnancy (14.2 percent vs 2.7 percent) compared with the screen-negative women. Among the screen-negative women only three (2 percent) presented with symptoms of depression during pregnancy. (IANS)