When to Screen for Postpartum Depression

Multiple societies recommend that all women be screened at least once for postpartum depression (PPD) during the peripartum period, and some recommend screening at multiple time points during pregnancy and the postpartum period.1-3


    Onset of postpartum depression symptoms can occur during pregnancy.1


    Consider administering the EPDS or another validated screening tool between 2 and 3 weeks after childbirth.4


    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends continued support as needed with a comprehensive visit no later than 12 weeks after birth.4

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends integrating PPD screening and surveillance at the 1-, 2-, 4-, and 6-month well-child visits.3.5
ACOG postpartum care recommendations

All women undergo an initial assessment by their OB/GYN or other obstetric care provider within the first 3 weeks postpartum. Physicians should follow up with ongoing care as needed and conclude with a comprehensive postpartum visit no later than 12 weeks after birth.4

Timing of postpartum visits should be individualized to each woman and take into account any changes in insurance coverage anticipated after delivery.4

  1. Screening for Perinatal Depression. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 757. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol. 2018;132:e208-212.
  2. Siu A; for the US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for depression in adults: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2016;315(4):380-387.
  3. STAR Center: Screening recommendations. American Academy of Pediatrics website. https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Screening/Pages/Screening-Recommendations.aspx. Accessed May 17, 2018.
  4. Optimizing Postpartum Care. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 736. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol. 2018;131:e140-150.
  5. Earls MF; Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health American Academy of Pediatrics. Incorporating recognition and management of perinatal and postpartum depression into pediatric practice. Pediatrics. 2010;126(5):1032-1039.