Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Comprehensive Assessment for Perinatal Depression

  • For persons with a positive perinatal depression screen, nurses must conduct or facilitate access to a comprehensive assessment.
  • A comprehensive assessment seeks to confirm signs and symptoms of perinatal depression within an overall health assessment and may include the following components: 
    • Emotional status, such as reoccurring bouts of sadness, discouragement, irritation, disappointment, or difficulties with decision making;
    • Somatic concerns, such as changes in sleeping and eating patterns or bouts of crying;
    • Physical status, including nutritional intake, activity level, or any physical health problems; 
    • The screening tool results, which can facilitate discussion of mood and monitoring for changes in clinical status;
    • Risk factors for perinatal depression, especially for persons with strong risk factors that suggest a high likelihood of perinatal depression (such as a history of a mood disorder, depression, or anxiety during a previous pregnancy);  
    • Health inequities, such as a history of mental illness, marginalization or stigma, as well as inequities such as poverty, disability, incarceration, food insecurity, or an identity as a lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person;
    • Contributory psychosocial factors, such as a lack of social support, a negative attitude towards a pregnancy, a history of substance use, a history of current or past abuse or trauma, low socioeconomic status, insecure housing, or being a refugee, or a new immigrant; and
    • A risk assessment of factors, such as self-harm, self-neglect, suicidal thoughts, or thoughts of harming the infant or other children.   
Women and Children
Assessment and Interventions Perinatal Depression
Point of Care Resources