Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)

If you have clients going through postpartum depression, then it might be best for you to use the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) to help you assess the level of their depression!

Matt Olivares
Matt Olivares
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What is the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)?

During pregnancy and after giving birth, it’s common for mothers to go through depression due to the stress of childbearing, the fatigue that comes with it, and (the thought of) adjusting to motherhood.

The was created in 1987 to assess the severity of depression that mothers go through after giving birth. It comes in the form of a ten-item questionnaire about how they are feeling, if they can sleep, if they are looking forward to doing things, etc., based on the past seven days before answering the questionnaire.

It is widely used and has since been adapted into numerous languages. It’s now even used as a way to screen a mother for pregnancy before childbirth.

Printable Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)

Download this Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and assess your client’s depressive symptoms.

How to use the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is easy to use on the part of the health practitioner and the mother going through postnatal depression.

Have the mother answer this assessment, preferably on the spot.

It’s a ten-item questionnaire with simple questions. Here are the statements that they need to answer:

  • I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things
  • I have looked forward with enjoyment to things
  • I have blamed myself unnecessarily when things went wrong
  • I have been anxious or worried for no good reason
  • I have felt scared and panicky for no very good reason
  • Things have been getting on top of me
  • I have been so unhappy that I have had difficulty sleeping
  • I have felt sad or miserable
  • I have been so unhappy that I have been crying
  • The thought of harming myself has occurred to me

Each item comes with four choices to rate themselves with. What they need to do before ticking the answers is consider whether these have applied to them in the last seven days.

The choices per item are different from the others, given the context.

It would be best for you to have them complete the full assessment. The mother should also complete the evaluation by herself (with no consultation from other mothers). Of course, she can get assistance if she has language barriers or difficulty reading.

Tally the scores and assess if the mother has postnatal depression.

Once you receive a fully-accomplished questionnaire from the mother, it’s time for you to tally the scores.

Best to take note of the following:

  • Items 1, 2, and 4 (these are the ones not marked with an asterisk) are scored 0-3. The top box is 0. The last box is a 3.
  • Items 3 and 5-10 (marked with asterisks) are reverse-scored. The top box is 3. The last box is 0.

The maximum score is 30. If the mother scores 10-30, that counts as “Possible depression.”

Do take note of their answer to Item 10, which is about self-harm. If they tick either the first or second box, that’s still a cause for concern and must be discussed in future sessions with the mother.

Come up with a care plan for the mother.

In the event that their scale falls between 10-30, you should work on a care plan to help them work through their depression. This is especially important if they ticked the first or second box of Item 10.

Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) Example (Sample)

Here’s a filled-out Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) sample, to give you greater insight into how the resource functions.

Download this Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) Example (Sample) here:

Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) Example (Sample)

When would you typically use the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)?

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) can be used when a mother sets up an appointment with you and discusses her depression after giving birth. Normally, the scale is issued within eight weeks postpartum.

This also isn’t a one-off thing. Let’s say the mother is already in the middle of a care plan. You can reissue this assessment every once in a while to monitor if there are any changes in the client. Every two weeks is good when reissuing it to the mother.

Reissuing this now and then will help you determine whether your plan is working and if you need to make any improvements.

Who can use this printable Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)?

The following healthcare practitioners can use the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) for their respective practices:

  • Obstetricians (OB/GYN)
  • (Clinical) psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychometricians
  • (Mental health) therapists
  • Counselors

What are the benefits of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)?

It can be used during the mother’s pregnancy stage!

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) has become such a widely used screening tool to the point that it’s also used during the pregnancy stage for depression screening. Care plans can be developed before childbirth.

It allows mothers to reflect on themselves.

Aside from being useful for psychologists and adjacent practitioners, this depression scale might benefit the mother in a way.

This assessment asks the mother to rate themselves based on ten items. They’re going to reflect on how they’ve been feeling during the pregnancy and after giving birth. This could help them determine what they should focus on in order to feel better about themselves and work through their (possible) depression.

Why use Carepatron for depression software?

Here at Carepatron, we care about helping healthcare practitioners improve productivity and efficiency, especially when streamlining their clinical documentation. By taking advantage of our easy-to-navigate EHR system, you’ll gain access to various depression scale assessments, such as the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).

Our assessments will help you gauge your patient’s depression severity. These assessments should also aid in helping you determine the next course of care program, whether it’s diagnosing them, deciding what medicine to use, and other actionable steps that may help them work through their condition!

You can even store these assessments in a HIPAA-compliant manner and secure them by setting up who can access these documents besides you.

Not only are our depression software and assessments intuitive, but they’re also easily accessible! Whether you’re using an office desktop, a laptop, or even just your phone, you can access your depression scale assessments anytime, anywhere!

Convenience. Accessibility. Security. You get all three with Carepatron.

Psychology Software
Would it be safe to assume that the scoring of this depression scale is objective?
Would it be safe to assume that the scoring of this depression scale is objective?

Commonly asked questions

Would it be safe to assume that the scoring of this depression scale is objective?

The score range that designates possible depression is 10-30. What that does is give a semblance of objectivity and posits that it’s possible that they may have depression. It doesn’t mean that they do.

It gives you, the healthcare practitioner, something to work with.

What if the mother’s score is below 10, but she ticked the first or second box of Item 10? What do we do, given that it doesn’t fall between the 10-30 “Possible depression” range?

Self-harm/suicidal thoughts are always a cause for concern. Even if they scored below 10, one of the notes on this scale says that you should always look at their answer for Item 10. You’re still going to have to come up with a care plan if the mother has suicidal thoughts.

When should I start using this scale?

If you happen to be an OB/GYN, you can use this during the pregnancy stage for depression screening. This is so you can create a care plan as early as possible.

If the mother already gave birth, you can issue this the first time within eight weeks after they gave birth, then every two weeks, monitor them for any changes and see whether your care plan is working.

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