Protocol - Prenatal and Postpartum Depression

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The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale© (EPDS)


Publicly available


The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale© (EPDS) was developed to screen prenatal and postpartum women for the indication of depression. This 10-question self-report instrument is designed to screen for depression in the previous 7 days.


Instructions for Users

1. The mother is asked to underline 1 of 4 possible responses that comes the closest to how she has been feeling the previous 7 days.

2. All 10 items must be completed.

3. Care should be taken to avoid the possibility of the mother discussing her answers with others.

4. The mother should complete the scale herself, unless she has limited English or has difficulty with reading.

As you have recently had a baby, we would like to know how you are feeling. Please CHECK the answer which comes closest to how you have felt IN THE PAST 7 DAYS, not just how you feel today.

Here is an example, already completed.

I have felt happy:

[ ] Yes, all the time

[X] Yes, most of the time

[ ] No, not very often

[ ] No, not at all

This would mean: "I have felt happy most of the time" during the past week. Please complete the other questions in the same way.

In the past 7 days:

1. I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things

[ ] As much as I always could

[ ] Not quite so much now

[ ] Definitely not so much now

[ ] Not at all

2. I have looked forward with enjoyment to things

[ ] As much as I ever did

[ ] Rather less than I used to

[ ] Definitely less than I used to

[ ] Hardly at all

3. I have blamed myself unnecessarily when things went wrong

[ ] Yes, most of the time

[ ] Yes, some of the time

[ ] Not very often

[ ] No, never

4. I have been anxious or worried for no good reason

[ ] No, not at all

[ ] Hardly ever

[ ] Yes, sometimes

[ ] Yes, very often

5. I have felt scared or panicky for no very good reason

[ ] Yes, quite a lot

[ ] Yes, sometimes

[ ] No, not much

[ ] No, not at all

6. Things have been getting on top of me

[ ] Yes, most of the time I haven’t been able to cope at all

[ ] Yes, sometimes I haven’t been coping as well as usual

[ ] No, most of the time I have coped quite well

[ ] No, have been coping as well as ever

7. I have been so unhappy that I have had difficulty sleeping

[ ] Yes, most of the time

[ ] Yes, sometimes

[ ] Not very often

[ ] No, not at all

8. I have felt sad or miserable

[ ] Yes, most of the time

[ ] Yes, quite often

[ ] Not very often

[ ] No, not at all

9 I have been so unhappy that I have been crying

[ ] Yes, most of the time

[ ] Yes, quite often

[ ] Only occasionally

[ ] No, never

10. The thought of harming myself has occurred to me

[ ] Yes, quite often

[ ] Sometimes

[ ] Hardly ever

[ ] Never

Administered/Reviewed by __________________ Date ________________


QUESTIONS 1, 2 & 4 are scored 0, 1, 2 or 3 with top box scored as 0 and the bottom box scored as 3.

QUESTIONS 3, 5-10 are reverse scored, with the top box scored as a 3 and the bottom box scored as 0.

Maximum score: 30

Possible Depression: 10 or greater

Always look at item 10 (suicidal thoughts)

Personnel and Training Required


Equipment Needs



Requirement CategoryRequired
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individualNo
Major equipmentNo
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collectionNo
Specialized trainingNo

Mode of Administration


Life Stage:

Adolescent, Adult, Pregnancy

Specific Instructions:

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale© (EPDS) is a screening tool, and a clinical assessment should be performed to confirm diagnosis. The scale will not identify subjects with anxiety neuroses, phobias, or personality disorders.

The Working Group recommends this measure to screen for prenatal and postpartum depression. If the respondent scores 10 or more, it is strongly recommended that the investigator follow up with a complete clinical assessment.

Contained in this instrument may be questions about thoughts of suicide. If using this protocol, please inform your Institutional Review Boards of these questions and institute a plan of action for dealing with suicidal thoughts in your respondent. It may be necessary to create a separate protocol for immediate action and/or referral.

Users may reproduce the scale without further permission, providing they respect copyright by quoting the names of the authors, the title, and the source of the paper in all reproduced copies.

Research Domain Information

Release Date:

January 31, 2017


This measure is a questionnaire that can be used to screen for recent symptoms of depression, including perinatal and postnatal depression. There are 10 questions to assess a mother’s postnatal depression in the previous 7 days.


Nearly 15% of new moms suffer major depression, and up to 80% experience the "baby blues." A depression screening tool helps health care providers assess women for symptoms of depression before and after their pregnancy.

Selection Rationale

This is one of the most widely used, validated self-report instruments to screen for depression during and after pregnancy.


Chinese, English, Spanish, Available in other languages


Common Data Elements (CDE)Pregnancy Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale Assessment Score5633932CDE Browser

Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel has not reviewed this measure yet.


Cox, J. L., Holden, J. M., & Sagovsky, R. (1987). Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. British Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 782-786.

Wisner, K. L., Parry, B. L., & Piontek, C. M. (2002). Postpartum depression. New England Journal of Medicine, 347(3), 194-199.

General References

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2008). Perinatal depression screening: Tools for obstetrician-gynecologists. Albany, NY: Author. http://mail.ny.acog.org/website/DepressionToolKit.pdf

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR. Washington, DC: Author.

Committee on Obstetric Practice. (2015). American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee Opinion no. 630. Screening for perinatal depression. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 125, 1268-1271.

Garcia-Esteve, L., Ascaso, C., Ojuel, J., & Navarro, P. (2003). Validation of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) in Spanish mothers. Journal of Affective Disorders, 75(1), 71-76.

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