There is limited information relating to routine depression screening and psychosocial assessment programs in private maternity settings in Australia.

To describe the psychosocial profile of a sample of private maternity patients who participated in a depression screening and psychosocial risk assessment program as part of routine antenatal care, and to explore women’s experience of receiving this component of pregnancy care.

Materials and methods
We conducted a retrospective medical records audit of 455 consecutive women having a routine psychosocial assessment and referral. Assessment was undertaken using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the Antenatal Risk Questionnaire (ANRQ) for psychosocial risk; 101 women completed a feedback survey about their experience of receiving routine psychosocial care.

Of the 87.7% of women who completed both EPDS and ANRQ, 4.3% scored 13 or more on the EPDS. On the ANRQ, 25.3% of women endorsed one risk factor, 11.6% two risk factors and 10.5% three or more risk factors. Elevated EPDS scores were associated with major stresses in the last 12 months, high trait anxiety and significant past mental health issue/s. Acceptability of depression screening and psychosocial risk assessment was high.

This study highlights the need for, and acceptability of, depression and psychosocial assessment in the private maternity sector. These findings are particularly timely given the provision of new Medicare Benefits Scheme items for obstetricians to undertake psychosocial assessment (both antenatally and postnally) in line with recommended clinical best practice.