HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Maternal Depression Screening During Prenatal and Postpartum Care at a Navy and Marine Corps Military Treatment Facility

Article

This study examines depression screening scores among women receiving obstetric care at a military hospital serving a Navy and Marine Corps community. The study offers additional data in support of the hypothesis that deployment of active duty members may be a risk factor for perinatal depression among military wives.

Abstract

Maternal depression in the prenatal and postpartum periods is an important concern for women, infants, and families. Military family life may create some unique stressors, including operational deployment of an active duty husband, which increase perinatal depression challenges for women. This study examined depression screening scores, based on a modified Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale, among women receiving obstetric care at a military hospital serving a Navy and Marine Corps community. Among 3,882 surveys collected between 2007 and 2009 from women at various points in their prenatal or postpartum care, the proportion with scores indicative of high risk for clinical depression was relatively low at 4.6%. However, scores were significantly higher at the initial obstetric visit among women who reported their husband as currently deployed, and scores were significantly higher at the postpartum visit among women who reported their husband as currently deployed or planning to deploy. These results underscore the importance of evaluating all aspects of the military family life experience when providing perinatal care to women in military families.

Full Reference

Shawn Spooner, Marsha Rastle|, Kelly Elmore, 2012, Military Medicine, Maternal Depression Screening During Prenatal and Postpartum Care at a Navy and Marine Corps Military Treatment Facility, 177, 10, 1208-1211