Understanding the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)

The EPDS is a widely used screening tool to evaluate postpartum depression.  The EPDS is also recommended for use throughout pregnancy.  We routinely screen patients between 12-13 weeks and 26-28 weeks pregnant during scheduled prenatal visits and again during the postpartum period.  Early identification of mental health care needs ensures that we are able to connect patients with resources in their community.

In Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law, An Act Relative to Post Partum Depression, Chapter 313 of the Acts of 2010.

This legislation authorizes the Department of Public Health to “develop a culture of awareness, destigmatization, and screening for perinatal depression” and establishes a special legislative commission to investigate and study postpartum depression. In an effort to be inclusive as possible, the DPH established a PPD Legislation Implementation Working Group, inviting key stakeholders from across disciplines and the Commonwealth to provide guidance and assistance to the DPH through this process.

This report is focused on two requirements in the legislation for DPH to:

  • Develop standards for measuring effective screening for postpartum depression
  • Make recommendations for health plans and health care providers for data reporting specific to postpartum depression screening.

DPH worked collaboratively with the PPD Legislation Implementation Working Group, and specifically health care providers and health plans, on the following recommendations and standards. Further information on stakeholder engagement is described in the Department’s “Annual Summary of Activities Related to Screening for Postpartum Depression”, which was sent to the Legislature in October 2011. For more information visit the Department of Public Health Online