Depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period—Infographic

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Depression in pregnancy and the postpartum period is a serious issue.

The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care recommends against universal screening for depression using standardized tools, such as questionnaires with a cut off, with all pregnant and postpartum people (up to 1 year after birth)


What does this mean for clinicians?

  • Do ask patients about their well-being as part of usual care
  • Do practice good clinical judgment to detect potential depression


We recommend against using a standardized tool to screen every patient

  • Do remain vigilant for depression
  • Do use clinical judgment to decide on further steps


Depression Rates:

8% in pregnant and 9% postpartum people vs. 8% in nonpregnant people 1


Usual care vs screening:

Usual Care Screening
  • Ask about well-being
  • Individual, conversation-based
  • Clinical judgement determines next steps if depression is suspected
  • Uses a medical test or tool with everyone to identify people who might have a disease or health problem
  • Uses a standardized questionnaire with cut off score with every pregnant or postpartum patient
  • Questionnaire score determines next steps
  • Not for people with symptoms


  • Depression is a serious issue – Ask patients about their well-being at visits
  • Don’t use a screening tool with a cutoff score to detect depression with every patient
  • Continue to use clinical judgement and remain vigilant to depression



  • The evidence supporting instrument based screening over usual care is very uncertain.
  • Implementing a universal screening program that has no proven benefit uses resources and takes away from other health concerns


Depression resources:


1 Vesga-López O, Blanco C, Keyes K, et al. Psychiatric disorders in pregnant and postpartum women in the United States. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2008;65:805-15.