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Document Type

DNP - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Cynthia Elverson


maternal anxiety, post-partum depression, screening


Introduction: Screening for mood disorders has been inconsistent among health care professionals resulting in only 55% of peripartum women being evaluated for mental health concerns. The purpose of this review was to evaluate the literature regarding screening for peripartum anxiety and depression disorders (PADD).
Evidence: Screening for maternal anxiety and depression completed at least once during pregnancy decreases undetected mental health concerns during and after pregnancy. Referral and treatment rates were low when women screened positive for PADD because providers were often unaware of the screening results; 33% of women during the prenatal period and 27.5% of women during the postpartum period who screened positive for PADD were left untreated due to lack of communication among the health care team.
Gaps: The literature was deficient in information regarding follow-up use of full screeners after positive pre-screeners. There was limited information determining how often full screening was completed when it was indicated.
Recommendations for Practice: Communication and coordination between care providers is essential for continuous and complete delivery of care. Staff education on the use of screening for maternal anxiety and depression is vital. Successful implementation of change projects incorporated practice champions as leaders to ensure continued education and proper use of screening forms. Clinical judgment outweighed the use of these guidelines; however, guidelines should be considered for standardization of treatment.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Postpartum depression -- Diagnosis.
Mental illness in pregnancy.
Anxiety disorders -- Diagnosis.
Medical screening.
Pregnant women -- Mental health services.
Pregnancy -- Psychological aspects.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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