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
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
Emotional care
Health knowledge
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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