Australian midwives' knowledge of antenatal and postpartum depression: A national survey

Jones, Cindy J., Creedy, Debra K., Gamble, Jenny A. and Health, M. (2011) Australian midwives' knowledge of antenatal and postpartum depression: A national survey. Journal of Midwifery and Womens Health, 56 4: 353-361. doi:10.1111/j.1542-2011.2011.00039.x


Author Jones, Cindy J.
Creedy, Debra K.
Gamble, Jenny A.
Health, M.
Title Australian midwives' knowledge of antenatal and postpartum depression: A national survey
Journal name Journal of Midwifery and Womens Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1526-9523
1542-2011
Publication date 2011-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1542-2011.2011.00039.x
Volume 56
Issue 4
Start page 353
End page 361
Total pages 9
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Introduction: Emotional care provided by midwives may improve health and well-being; reduce stress, trauma, and depressive symptoms; and enhance maternal outcomes in childbearing women. The provision of intrapartum and postpartum emotional care can be challenging and requires a good knowledge base for the provider to screen and assist distressed women. This study assessed Australian midwives’ levels of knowledge and learning needs regarding antenatal depression and postpartum depression.
Methods: Eight hundred and fifteen members of the Australian College of Midwives completed a postal survey, which consisted of 20 items drawn from the literature and the National Baseline Survey—Health Professional Knowledge Questionnaire.
Results: On average, respondents correctly answered 62.9% of items related to antenatal depression and 70.7% of questions about postpartum depression. Many midwives were unable to identify the risk factors (70.6%) or prevalence of antenatal depression (49.6%). Nearly all (98.3%) respondents underestimated the percentage of antenatally depressed women that attempts suicide. Significant percentages of midwives did not correctly identify the incidence (44.4%), onset period (71%), and treatment options (32%) associated with postpartum depression. About half did not understand the use of antidepressant medications (48.6%) and incorrectly reported that the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was a suitable instrument to assess symptoms of psychotic depression (43.8%).
Discussion: There are key knowledge deficits relating to onset of, assessment of, and treatment for depressive symptoms during the antenatal and postpartum periods. There is a need for continuing professional education to improve midwives’ knowledge and competency in the assessment and care of women suffering depression.
Keyword Antenatal depression
Depression
Emotional care
Health knowledge
Midwives
Postpartum Depression
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 6 JUL 2011

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Non HERDC
School of Psychology Publications
 
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