Depression in Pregnancy: Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options
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Perinatal depression occurs in 8-25% of pregnancies in the United States (Field, Diego & Hernandez-Reif, 2006). It is a disorder that can cause adverse consequences to the mother, fetus, neonate, and family unit. In order to properly diagnose perinatal depression, use of an objective screening tool is recommended. The Edinburgh postnatal depression scale (EPDS) has been found to be highly sensitive and specific when screening for depression in pregnant women (Hayes, 2010; Milgrom, Ericksen, Negri, & Gemmill, 2005). Upon diagnosis, treatment of depression is crucial to avoid the sequelae of depression. For mild to moderate depression, psychotherapy, either cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal psychotherapy can be considered a first line treatment (Spinelli & Endicott, 2003). The efficacy of acupuncture, massage therapy, and bright light therapy are thought to have some positive effects, but requires further research to determine proper use (Misri & Lusskin, 2013). For moderate to severe depression, antidepressant medication is recommended.