The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3139.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 11:00 AM

Abstract #60597

Perinatal depression screening practices among OB/GYN attending physicians and residents

Lee Chaix McDonough, MSW, MSPH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 7214 Snowden Crest, San Antonio, TX 78240-4794, 210-615-7484, and Cynthia H. Cassell, MA, School of Public Health, Department of Maternal and Child Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Rosenau Hall, CB #7445, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7445.

Background: Approximately ten to fourteen percent of pregnant women experience depression during pregnancy. Adverse health outcomes for mother and infant include increased risk of premature delivery, operative deliveries, fetal growth retardation, poor mother-infant attachment, and additional depressive episodes during future pregnancies. However, obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs) significantly underreport perinatal depression, partly due to ineffective or absent screening procedures. The aim of this study is to assess OB/GYN’s level of comfort in screening for and managing depression in pregnant women. Methods: Questionnaires regarding comfort level, previous training, and experience with diagnosing depression in pregnant women were administered to OB/GYN residents and attending physicians at three residency programs in North Carolina. Semi-structured interviews were conducted at each site to determine current screening procedures and training goals. Results: Overall, OB/GYN attending physicians were more comfortable screening, diagnosing, and managing pregnant women with depression than residents. Residents with previous experience in behavioral medicine were more comfortable than residents with little or no previous experience. Most respondents agreed that additional training in perinatal depression screening is necessary. No program had a standardized protocol for perinatal depression screening nor did they regularly use diagnostic instruments during pregnancy. Conclusions: Additional training in screening for perinatal depression is needed by OB/GYN residents and attending physicians. Screening can be improved by: 1) providing training in behavioral medicine and among public health practitioners; 2) implementing an explicit screening protocol; and 3) using instruments designed specifically for pregnant women. Development of such an instrument, increased training, and future research in this area is warranted.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Prenatal Interventions, Depression

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Outstanding Student Papers in Maternal and Child Health

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA