Clinical Tools for Postpartum Depression

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If you are an OB/GYN, nurse, pediatrician, primary care physician, psychiatrist, therapist, social worker or midwife involved in the care of pregnant and postpartum women, I hope you’ll find the postpartum depression tools and information listed below helpful for your practice.

Position Papers, Algorithms, Toolkits & Guidelines for Treatment

For family practice providers: the AAFP TRIPPD Postpartum Depression Toolkit (free)

For pediatric providers: Colorado Pediatric Postpartum Depression Screening Toolkit (free) and a Pediatrics Clinical Report on Incorporating Recognition and Management of Perinatal and Postpartum Depression Into Pediatric Practice (free)

For obstetric providers: ACOG District II Perinatal Depression Screening Toolkit (free)

set of guidelines and algorithms on the use of antidepressants during pregnancy created in a partnership between ACOG and the APA.

For nurses:  AWHONN section on postpartum depression includes position paper: The Role of the Nurse in Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders.

For physician assistants: Journal of American Academy of Physician Assistant’s guide to diagnosis and treatment approaches

For midwives: American College of Nurse Midwives’ NURSE Approach for PPD

From Karen Kleiman on assessing the potential for suicide in postpartum women: Postpartum Suicide

Screening Tools

Here’s a link to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screening Scale (EPDS) from the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health site.  Click here for a link to a 2008 study published in Pediatrics on the effectiveness of the EPDS-3, a three question subset of the EPDS.  Also, here’s info on the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS).


I have organized a page with links to citations of the latest research on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders here

Other Resources

If you need information on medications and mother’s milk, check out Thomas Hale’s comprehensive ibreastfeeding site or visit Motherisk.

The Maternal Child Health Library’s Depression During and After Pregnancy Knowledge Path offers a variety of resources for professionals, including links to databases, research and other literature.

The Women’s Health Resources site of the National Library of Medicine can be found at  Here’s the women’s mental health section:


Professional Organizations

Postpartum Support International (PSI) is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to helping women suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including postpartum depression.  The organization offers support, reliable information, best practice training and volunteer coordinators in all US states as well as in 26 countries around the world.  PSI also has free “Chat with the Experts” conference calls every Monday and Wednesday.  You are welcome to call to get your questions about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders answered, or you can suggest patients or family members call in.

North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics & Gynecology (NASPOG) is a society of researchers, clinicians, educators and scientists involved in women’s mental health and healthcare. Formed in the 1960s as a collaboration among Obstetrician Gynecologists, Psychiatrists and Psychologists, the Society’s aim is to foster scholarly scientific and clinical study of the biopsychosocial aspects of obstetric and gynecologic medicine.

The Marce Society promotes, facilitates and communicates about research into all aspects of the mental health of women, their infants and partners around the time of childbirth.  The Society is multidisciplinary and encourages involvement from all disciplines including: psychiatrists, psychologists, pediatricians, obstetricians, midwives, early childhood nurses,  physiotherapists, occupational therapists, community psychiatric nurses, community nurses and health visitors.

Training & Continuing Education

Postpartum Support International conducts 2-day trainings covering the spectrum of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.  PSI trainers will come to you to present the evidence-based curriculum.  Contact Pec Indman at or download the PSI Standardized Training Brochure for more information. is a professional education, peer-reviewed Web site developed with the support of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The site’s main objective is to further the education of primary care providers (pediatricians, family physicians, obstetricians, psychiatrists, nurses, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, social workers) who treat women who have or are at risk for postpartum depression.  The site offers a variety of resources, including the First Thursdays Program.  On the first Thursday of every month, registered users of can participate in live teleconferences on various PPD topics and address questions or comments to their faculty. Downloadable PowerPoint slides for each teleconference will be available in advance. After the teleconference is completed, the recording will be archived on the site.  Participation in First Thursdays is easy. All you need is a phone and Internet access.  The site also has a provider referral directory.

The Postpartum Stress Center in Pennsylvania offers postgraduate training and mentoring.  These events are led by Karen Kleiman, author of many of the leading books on postpartum depression.

The University of Washington School of Nursing, in collaboration with Washington State’s First Steps Team, has created “The Keys to Postpartum Depression,” an online training program.  It is free and video-based, with additional back-up links and materials.  It includes 3 modules, each 40-60 minutes in length.

STEP-PPD is a comprehensive online training course for primary care providers on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Books for Professionals

I recommend the following books for professionals who treat postpartum depression:

Therapy and the Postpartum Woman by Karen Kleiman is a must-read for any therapist wishing to specialize in treating women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Perinatal & Postpartum Mood Disorders: Perspectives & Treatment Guide for the Health Care Practitioner by Susan Dowd Stone is great textbook for those in the psychiatric field as well as OB-GYNs, nurses and pediatricians.

Motherhood and Mental Health by Ian Brockington


If you’d like to suggest additional tools or if you’re looking for a specific type of information and would like my help in finding it, please email me at  I’m happy to help.

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