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Use the EPDS to screen for postpartum depression in teenagers

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Dr. Kartik K. Venkatesh and her colleagues at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston conducted research to assess the accuracy of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the three shorter subscales, the EPDS-7, EPDS-3, and EPDS-3, for use with adolescents.

The researchers studied a group of 106 teenage mothers using the EPDS and the three subscales (EPDS-7, EPSD-3 and EPDS-2). The teen moms were tested at six weeks, three months and six months, using the different EPDS diagnostic tools, along with a psychiatric interview.

The team found that 18% of the teenagers met the criteria for postpartum depression, that the EPDS and EPDS-7 had a sensitivity of 90% and specificities of 85%, while the EPDS-2 and EPDS-3 performed equally well on a continuous scale.

The EPDS is a ten item questionnaire developed to screen women for postpartum depression. The questions address such topics that would be indicative of clinical depression, such as sleep patterns, mood disturbances, guilt, anxiety, fear and self or other-harm.

You can use the tool here to assess yourself if you sense you are not feeling quite yourself. The instructions for scoring are included in the link.

The EPDS-3 is a shorter version of the EPDS with ten questions, developed by Dr. Thomas Hale. It can be used by nurses in busy pediatric and obstetric or midwifery practices for a fast psychological baseline read of the woman coming into their offices. If there is a positive result, the ten item EPDS is given.

The EPDS-3 is available in a reusable, laminated version that can be used and over and over again, and quickly reviewed, in order to effectively support practice cost containment.

If you are feeling bad, please seek help. Tell your family, ask your friends for a referral to a local therapist.

Online, you can take a look at Regroup Therapy for a list of therapists with whom you can talk privately.

Postpartum Support International has a Warmline where someone can help you obtain mental health services or steer you to a local or online support group.

Some postpartum-friendly bloggers can be found here and #PPDCHAT is a wonderful online support for women after childbirth.

Postpartum Progress is another helpful website where support from real moms and resources can be found.

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