September 08, 2020
Online Perinatal Mood Disorder Screening Tool Helps Families Get the Help They Need
By: Sharon Muza, BS, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE | 0 Comments
The global pandemic created by COVID-19 has had significant impacts on pregnant, birthing and postpartum families. Isolation, lack of social support, financial challenges and health concerns all contribute to the stress that expectant families are experiencing. Many childbirth classes and postpartum support groups, along with prenatal care visits with health care providers have pivoted to virtual offerings and in-person connection is limited at best.
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are the most common complication of pregnancy. PMADs impact one in five pregnant people and one out of seven postpartum people. Partners are also affected at a rate of one in 10, and more likely to be impacted if the birthing person is also struggling. COVID-19 concerns are not helping. Childbirth educators and others who work with families share information and resources to support those that may be experiencing a difficult time.
During in person classes, my resource packet has always included a copy of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) as an evidence based and simple method of screening for a PMAD. I encouraged families to put the one-pager up on the fridge to use on a regular basis. With virtual classes, I have wanted to offer this resource through online access and was delighted to find a straightforward and easy online screening tool that families can access from anywhere at anytime.
The perinatology.com website has a one page online calculator that parents can complete and have their “score” calculated to determine if a further assessment is needed. The online Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale calculated can be accessed for free here. Sharing this link with families and encouraging them to conduct this three minute screening weekly throughout their pregnancies and the postpartum period can help to identify those people who might benefit from professional support.
Providing resources that are local to your community and serve families during the childbearing year should be an accompaniment to the EPDS tool. These resources should include therapists, counselors and physicians along with peer to peer support groups for connection.
Even though many of us are not seeing families in person during this health crisis, does not mean that we should not continue to stress the prevalence of mood disorders on expectant families. The current situation makes it even more likely to be a situation that people are dealing with.
How are you making sure that the families you work with are able to quickly assess their current state and get help for any perinatal mood disorders that are impacting their family? What are your favorite tools under the circumstances that we all find ourselves in? Please share your resources in the comments below.
TagsPregnancy Childbirth education Postpartum ChildBirth Classes PMAD Sharon Muza PMADs Virtual Childbirth Classes Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Tool