Background: It is worthwhile to identify women at risk of developing postpartum depression during pregnancy. This study aimed to determine the optimal time and cutoff score for antenatal screening for prediction of postpartum depressive symptoms (PDS) using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and to identify risk factors for PDS. Methods: The target population was healthy pregnant women receiving antenatal care at a university hospital in Tokyo, Japan. During the first, second, and third trimesters, 3–4 days postpartum, and one month postpartum, they were asked to take the Japanese version of the EPDS questionnaire. The primary outcome of the study was PDS, defined as an EPDS score ≥ 9 at one month postpartum. The area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC), sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of EPDS scores at each antenatal screening time were calculated. Results: From 139 pregnant women, 129 were successfully followed up throughout the study. The number of women with an EPDS score ≥ 9 during the first, second, and third trimesters, 3–4 days postpartum, and one month postpartum were 6/126 (4.8%), 9/124 (7.3%), 5/117 (4.3%), 17/123 (13.8%), and 15/123 (12.2%), respectively. Screening during the second trimester had the highest AUC to predict PDS (0.89) among antenatal screenings. The optimal EPDS cutoff score during the second trimester was 4/5 (sensitivity: 85.7%; specificity: 77.1%; PPV: 33.3%; NPV: 97.6%). An EPDS score ≥ 5 during the second trimester (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 15.9; 95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 3.2–78.1) and a family history of mental illness (aOR: 4.5; 95%CI: 1.2–17.5) were significantly associated with PDS. Conclusions: Our study suggests that the EPDS score at the second trimester with the cutoff value of 4/5 may be adequate for initial screening for prediction of PDS. Women with an EPDS score ≥ 5 at the second trimester require more elaborate follow-up.
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