Anxiety Symptoms and Severity Among Perinatal Women Screened for Depression with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale


The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is a well-known screening tool for clinical use in identifying perinatal depression symptoms and risk for perinatal depression. Did you know the EPDS also can be used to identify anxiety symptoms? Three items within the EPDS can be considered an anxiety subscale:

  • I have blamed myself unnecessary with things went wrong.
  • I have been anxious or worried for no good reason.
  • I have felt scared or panicky for no very good reason.

Screening for perinatal depression is increasingly common, but screening for perinatal anxiety is less common. Furthermore, there are no validated perinatal anxiety-specific screening tools. Using the EPDS to screen for both depression and anxiety could be an effective and efficient way to identify risk.

Our study explores the prevalence of co-occurring perinatal anxiety and depression among women screened with the EPDS. We evaluated the results from over 2000 electronic EPDS screenings in Utah.  

You can learn more about the prevalence of co-occurring perinatal depression and anxiety, as well as how the EPDS may be helpful in screening for both in clinical practice at the upcoming ACNM 66th Annual Meeting, held virtually May 23 – 25, 2021!


Ryoko Pentecost, MN,RN, CCRC

Ryoko is a PhD candidate in the College of Nursing, University of Utah. Her research interest is to improve treatment adherence and increases access to perinatal substance use care using the telehealth approach, which also addresses comorbid psychiatric illnesses such as perinatal depression and prevents relapse during the postpartum period.

Sara Simonsen, PhD, CNM, MSPH

Dr. Sara Simonsen is an Associate Professor and the Annette Poulson Cumming Presidential Endowed Chair in Women’s & Reproductive Health at the University of Utah College of Nursing.  She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Simonsen is a nurse, and nurse-midwife and her clinical work and research are focused on preventive women’s health, with a specific emphasis on health promotion among reproductive-age women.

Eli Iacob, PhD

Dr. Eli Iacob is an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah College of Nursing. He supports faculty in the development of research studies, data management, and conducting analyses. His research interests generally revolve around behavioral interventions for chronic and acute conditions, many of which utilize telehealth approaches and ecological momentary assessments.

Xiaoming Sheng, PhD

Dr. Xiaoming Sheng is a Professor and Director of Applied Statistics at the University of Utah College of Nursing. His research interests include developing general statistical methods and their applications in clinical and translational research.

Marcia Williams, MSN, FNP

Marcia Williams is a Family Nurse Practitioner with research interests in preventative rural healthcare.  She is currently in her second year of PhD studies at the University of Utah. 

Susan Dearden, MPH, CPH, CHES

Susan Dearden is a market analyst at BioFire Diagnostics (BioMérieux) with a background in public health research. Prior to working in this role, Susan was a research program manager at the University of Utah. Her interests include maternal mental health, social determinants of health, infectious disease, and refugee health.

Gwen Latendresse, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN

Dr. Latendresse is an Associate Dean for Academic Programs at the University of Utah College of Nursing. Her research examines the impact of maternal depression, chronic stress, and SSRI use on pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, postpartum depression and placental gene expression. Currently, Dr. Latendresse has two funded projects focus on telehealth interventions for treatment and prevention of perinatal depression and anxiety.