Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale for New Moms

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is a 10-item questionnaire that was developed to identify women who have Postpartum Depression (PPD).

 Items of the scale correspond to various clinical depression symptoms, such as guilt feeling, sleep disturbance, low energy, anhedonia, and suicidal ideation. Overall assessment is done by total score, which is determined by adding together the scores for each of the 10 items. Higher scores indicate more depressive symptoms. The EPDS may be used within 8 weeks postpartum and it also can be applied for depression screening during pregnancy.

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, developed by Scottish health centers in Edinburgh and Livingston, is a widely used depression screening tool, which has been adapted and validated in many languages.

What is Postnatal Depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a type of clinical depression which can affect women, and less frequently men, typically after childbirth. Studies report prevalence rates among women from 5% to 25%, but methodological differences among the studies make the actual prevalence rate unclear. Among men, in particular new fathers, the incidence of postpartum depression has been estimated to be between 1% and 25.5%. Symptoms include sadness, fatigue, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced libido, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability. Although a number of risk factors have been identified, the causes of PPD are not well understood. Many women recover with a treatment consisting of a support group or counseling.

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Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale 

This 10-question self-rating scale has been proven to be an efficient and effective way of identifying patients at risk for “perinatal” depression. While this test was specifically designed for women who are pregnant or have just had a baby, it has also been shown to be an effective measure for general depression in the larger population.

Please select the answer that comes closest to how you have felt 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, I 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, sometimes
 * 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

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* The answers for questions 1, 2, and 4 are scored 0, 1, 2 or 3 with top box scored as 0 and the bottom box scored as 3. 
* The answers for questions 3, and from 5 to 10 are reverse scored, with the top box scored as a 3 and the bottom box scored as 0.

The maximum score: 30
0 – 8 points: Low probability of depression
8 – 12 points: most likely just dealing w/ a new baby or the baby blues.
13 – 14 points: signs leading to possibility of PPD; take preventative measures.
15 + points: High probability of experiencing clinical depression.

Always look with elevated care at the item 10 (suicidal thoughts).


Mothers who score above 13 are likely to be suffering from a depressive illness of varying severity. The EPDS score should not override clinical judgment. A careful clinical assessment should be carried out to confirm the diagnosis. The scale indicates how the mother has felt during the previous week. In doubtful cases it may be useful to repeat the tool after 2 weeks. The scale will not detect mothers with anxiety neuroses, phobias or personality disorders.

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If you prefer to use your smart gadgets, you can install and fill this questionnaire through mobile phone application.

There are three iPhone apps that include the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS):
* NovoPsych
* SadScale
* Mediquations  (available for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad and for Android as well).

Sources and Additional Information:


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