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

Cindy J. Jones, Debra K. Creedy, Jenny A. Gamble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-361
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Midwifery and Women's Health
Volume56
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

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Postpartum Depression
Midwifery
Depression
Postnatal Care
Professional Education
Knowledge Bases
Continuing Education
Health
Surveys and Questionnaires
Suicide
Postpartum Period
Antidepressive Agents
Mothers
Learning
Incidence
Wounds and Injuries
Therapeutics

Cite this

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title = "Australian midwives' knowledge of antenatal and postpartum depression: A national survey",
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.",
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Australian midwives' knowledge of antenatal and postpartum depression : A national survey. / Jones, Cindy J.; Creedy, Debra K.; Gamble, Jenny A.

In: Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health, Vol. 56, No. 4, 01.07.2011, p. 353-361.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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