Original Research

Screening for maternal postpartum depression during infant hospitalizations

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Postpartum depression is common and adversely affects children of afflicted mothers; postpartum depression recognition and treatment may improve outcomes. Hospitalization represents a potential health encounter for expanding screening and intervention.

OBJECTIVE

We aimed to assess for postpartum depression at infant hospitalization and examine postpartum depression risk factors in this population.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS

We conducted a prospective observational study of 310 English‐ or Spanish‐speaking women with an infant aged 2 weeks to 1 year admitted to a pediatric hospitalist service at a large urban freestanding children's hospital.

MEASUREMENTS

Mothers completed demographic questionnaires, a maternal–infant bonding scale, and the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS). Mothers with an EPDS score of 10 or higher (positive screen) received counseling and mental health referrals. Postenrollment calls followed trends in EPDS score and resource utilization. Multivariate logistic regression assessed relationships among risk factors and positive screens.

RESULTS

Eighty‐seven mothers (28%) were EPDS+. Only 14.6% reported appropriate prior depression screening. Maternal factors associated with EPDS+ were poor social support (4.40, interquartile range [IQR] = 2.27–8.53) and history of psychiatric diagnoses (5.02, IQR = 2.49–10.15). Having an infant with neurodevelopmental comorbidities was associated with EPDS+ screens (2.78, IQR = 1.03–7.52). Of 21 initially EPDS+ mothers reached by phone, 8 (38%) utilized their doctor or referral resource, resulting in lower EPDS scores (F(1,19) = 5.743, P < 0.05) compared to those not seeking help.

CONCLUSION

Postpartum depression screening during infant hospitalizations captures women previously unscreened. Low social support, past psychiatric diagnoses, or having infants with neurodevelopmental problems may increase postpartum depression risk. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2015;11:840–846. © 2015 Society of Hospital Medicine

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