If you think you may be suffering from postpartum depression after giving birth, you're not alone. It's a very common illness that many new mothers battle in what is often portrayed as the happiest time of their life. But bringing home a new baby, stepping into a new role, and having to relearn so many things you thought you'd be better prepared for is oftentimes a perfect recipe for anxiety and depression. If you've done research on the subject, you've probably came across words like "screenings" and the "postnatal depression scale", but what is a postpartum depression screening exactly? If you suspect you may have PPD, you don't need to be scared to have one done.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), up to one in seven women are likely to suffer from some kind of mood disorder after giving birth. The APA also noted that for more than half of the women diagnosed with PPD, this is their first ever episode of depression, so it isn't always linked to a past history of depression or anxiety.
Like the name suggests, a postpartum depression screening is simply a test — a series of questions usually — that a doctor or licensed mental healthcare expert will perform on a new mother who is exhibiting signs of depression. The most common screening test is called the The Edinburgh Post Natal Depression Scale, which is a ten question self-rating scale for determining the severity of your symptoms. You can take it online by yourself, but note that it doesn't qualify as a professional diagnosis — you'll need to see a professional for that. If a mother scores above a 13 on the test, she is likely to be suffering from depression in some form.
If you suspect yourself (or a friend) to be suffering from PPD, starting with an at-home screening may be a good way to asses your symptoms, but once you're done, be sure to follow up with your OB-GYN or a mental health professional so that they can ensure you get the care you deserve.