Managing pregnant women with serious mental illness: Using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale as a marker of anxiety and depressive symptoms
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Objective: To examine the course of depressive and anxiety symptoms using serial measurements of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) in pregnant women with serious mental illness (SMI) attending a specialist multi-disciplinary antenatal clinic in Perth, Western Australia. Method: A retrospective review of case notes was undertaken for 48 Western Australian pregnant women with schizophrenia and related psychoses and bipolar affective disorders who attended the Childbirth and Mental Illness (CAMI) antenatal clinic between December 2007 and November 2009. Of these patients, 27 completed the EPDS at booking (first appointment) and at 32 weeks gestation. Additional variables collected were demographic data, gestation at booking, and attendance rates for these 27 women, and for comparison another 21 women who did not complete the EPDS for one or both screening periods. Results: Mean total EPDS score decreased from 12.2 (SD 7.6) at booking to 8.5 (SD 6.4) at 32 weeks gestation (p = 0.007). Overall mean attendance rates and number of appointments were similar to the non-SMI population and in keeping with standard guidelines. Conclusions: We speculate from these preliminary findings that being managed by a consistent small multi-disciplinary team and knowing that they will be supported throughout their pregnancy could lead to improvement of anxiety and depressive symptoms in pregnant women with SMI, and has the potential to increase their attendance for antenatal care. © 2010 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
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