Postpartum Depression

Course #36364 - $90 -


Postpartum depression is a devastating illness that begins in or extends into the postpartum period. This serious health problem affects 10% to 20% of childbearing women worldwide irrespective of culture. Postpartum depression is often undetected by healthcare providers, which should be of great concern as its consequences have serious implications for the welfare of the mother and her family and the psychological development of the child. Considered to be the result of a combination of biochemical, hormonal, genetic, environmental, and psychosocial factors, the complications of this form of depression can have profound negative impact on the mother's ability to bond with the infant and to sufficiently provide routine care for the infant. A more rare form of postnatal disorder is postpartum psychosis, which, if not treated immediately when it is detected, can have deadly consequences for both mother and infant. Early detection and a sound clinical assessment by knowledgeable healthcare professionals are essential to treat the mother's depression and to prevent complications that can endanger the mother-infant relationship and the child's normal development.

Education Category: Psychiatric / Mental Health
Release Date: 04/01/2023
Expiration Date: 03/31/2026

Table of Contents


This course is designed for nurses and allied professionals who work directly with pregnant patients, new mothers, and infants. The target audience is primarily those in the obstetric/gynecologic, neonatal, and psychiatric fields, but all healthcare professionals who provide services to women will benefit from this course.

Accreditations & Approvals

In support of improving patient care, NetCE is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. NetCE is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). NetCE complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognized internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices. As a result of this accreditation, NetCE is authorized to issue the IACET CEU.

Designations of Credit

This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive 15 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit(s) for learning and change. NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 15 ANCC contact hour(s). NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 1 pharmacotherapeutic/pharmacology contact hour(s). NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 18 hours for Alabama nurses. AACN Synergy CERP Category A. NetCE is authorized by IACET to offer 1.5 CEU(s) for this program.

Individual State Nursing Approvals

In addition to states that accept ANCC, NetCE is approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by: Alabama, Provider #ABNP0353, (valid through July 29,2025); Alabama, Provider #ABNP0353, (valid through July 29, 2025); Arkansas, Provider #50-2405; California, BRN Provider #CEP9784; California, LVN Provider #V10662; California, PT Provider #V10842; District of Columbia, Provider #50-2405; Florida, Provider #50-2405; Georgia, Provider #50-2405; Kentucky, Provider #7-0054 through 12/31/2025; South Carolina, Provider #50-2405; South Carolina, Provider #50-2405. West Virginia RN and APRN, Provider #50-2405.

Course Objective

The purpose of this course is to allow nurses to detect postpartum depression using screening tools and a clinical assessment to intervene early and prevent the devastating consequences of the disorder.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss the prevalence of postpartum depression (PPD), including historical and transcultural perspectives.
  2. Identify risk factors for PPD evident prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy, and after birth.
  3. Review the effects of biochemistry, such as serotonin, estrogen and progesterone, cortisol, and thyroid, on the development of PPD.
  4. Describe the role of family history, stressful life events, and psychosocial factors in the etiology of depression.
  5. List the emotional, physical, and cognitive symptoms of postpartum blues.
  6. Discuss emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms of PPD.
  7. Identify severe forms of postpartum disorders, focusing on postpartum psychosis and cases of infanticide.
  8. Review the clinical assessment of PPD, including the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS).
  9. List the effects of PPD on maternal bonding, mother-infant attachment, and a child's socioemotional and cognitive development.
  10. Describe the potential long-term effects of PPD on children.
  11. List maternal and familial complications of PPD, including marital conflict, suicide, and homicide.
  12. Discuss self-care strategies for recovery, such as nourishment, sleep, rest and relaxation, exercise, and socializing.
  13. Review the role of education in the diagnosis of and recovery from PPD.
  14. Discuss the physiologic treatment of PPD with postpartum hormone treatments.
  15. Specify pharmacologic treatment strategies, noting benefits, adverse reactions, and risks.
  16. Discuss psychosocial interventions used in the treatment of PPD.
  17. List strategies for preventing PPD, including screening, postpartum debriefing, companionship in the delivery room, psychotherapy, midwife continuity of care, and progesterone preventive treatment.


Anele Runyion, RN, MS, received her diploma in nursing from Berea College School of Nursing in Berea, Kentucky. She subsequently received a Baccalaureate and Master’s degree in psychiatric nursing from the University of California, San Francisco. She has extensive experience in psychiatric nursing, including adolescent and adult psychiatry.

For twenty years she was psychiatric nurse consultant and coordinator of psychiatric nursing consultation at San Francisco General Hospital. She was Assistant Clinical Professor in Mental Health, Community and Administrative Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco. She created and co-chaired a National Psychiatric Consultation/Liaison Conference in 1987, which provided continuing education in nursing. This conference meets annually and has subsequently become an international conference.

She created a brief curriculum and practicum in consultation/liaison nursing for graduate nursing students at UCSF that is currently being practiced. As a psychiatric nurse consultant, she assisted non-psychiatric nurses in the hospital to assimilate and integrate psychological principles into their practice. During this time, she developed a protocol for management of acute post-traumatic stress response. This protocol was adopted by the hospital as a standard care plan for nursing management of patients with acute post-traumatic stress response in the non-psychiatric areas of the hospital.

Ms. Runyion has published and spoken nationally. She was listed in Who’s Who in American Nursing in 1991-92 and 1996-97. Currently, she is a self-employed consultant and writer.

Faculty Disclosure

Contributing faculty, Anele Runyion, RN, MS, has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Division Planner

Margo A. Halm, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, FAAN

Division Planner Disclosure

The division planner has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Director of Development and Academic Affairs

Sarah Campbell

Director Disclosure Statement

The Director of Development and Academic Affairs has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

About the Sponsor

The purpose of NetCE is to provide challenging curricula to assist healthcare professionals to raise their levels of expertise while fulfilling their continuing education requirements, thereby improving the quality of healthcare.

Our contributing faculty members have taken care to ensure that the information and recommendations are accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The publisher disclaims any liability, loss or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents. Participants are cautioned about the potential risk of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into practice.

Disclosure Statement

It is the policy of NetCE not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

Technical Requirements

Supported browsers for Windows include Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 and up, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and up, Opera 9.0 and up, and Google Chrome. Supported browsers for Macintosh include Safari, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and up, Opera 9.0 and up, and Google Chrome. Other operating systems and browsers that include complete implementations of ECMAScript edition 3 and CSS 2.0 may work, but are not supported. Supported browsers must utilize the TLS encryption protocol v1.1 or v1.2 in order to connect to pages that require a secured HTTPS connection. TLS v1.0 is not supported.

Implicit Bias in Health Care

The role of implicit biases on healthcare outcomes has become a concern, as there is some evidence that implicit biases contribute to health disparities, professionals' attitudes toward and interactions with patients, quality of care, diagnoses, and treatment decisions. This may produce differences in help-seeking, diagnoses, and ultimately treatments and interventions. Implicit biases may also unwittingly produce professional behaviors, attitudes, and interactions that reduce patients' trust and comfort with their provider, leading to earlier termination of visits and/or reduced adherence and follow-up. Disadvantaged groups are marginalized in the healthcare system and vulnerable on multiple levels; health professionals' implicit biases can further exacerbate these existing disadvantages.

Interventions or strategies designed to reduce implicit bias may be categorized as change-based or control-based. Change-based interventions focus on reducing or changing cognitive associations underlying implicit biases. These interventions might include challenging stereotypes. Conversely, control-based interventions involve reducing the effects of the implicit bias on the individual's behaviors. These strategies include increasing awareness of biased thoughts and responses. The two types of interventions are not mutually exclusive and may be used synergistically.