Nurse-Midwifery M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Hoekstra, Krista


Background: Perinatal and postpartum depression (PPD) has a diagnosed prevalence of 10-20%. Experts theorize that up to 60% of women experiencing PPD do not seek help. Mental depression carries a negative stigma in western culture and medicine. It is however, both a natural occurrence and physiologic disorder. If unaddressed, depression can become a severe and dangerous condition for both women and their children. The transition to motherhood presents with multifactorial influences such as hormonal, physical, and mental changes. Pregnant women in particular, who are experiencing a change in hormonal status, sleep pattern disruption, and personal role identity are at risk for PPD. Research supports that midwifery education that includes mental health complexity and screening implementation has the ability to prevent and decrease the prevalence of PPD. Purpose: To determine if midwife provider education and screening can decrease the prevalence of perinatal and postpartum depression. Results: The Midwifery Partnership Model is utilized as the framework for this literature review of 25 studies. Research indicates that there is a clear understanding of risk factors associated with PPD and that when midwives are trained how to identify risks, screen for PPD and facilitate resources, the prevalence is decreased by 40%. Conclusion: When educated about mental health complexity and trained in effective screening, midwives have the ability to partner with women during pregnancy to identify and prevent the negative influences that increase the risk for PPD. Screening tools, therapeutic communication and intervention, along with identifying social support structures for women and their families, contribute to increased mental wellness and wellbeing for women and their children.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse-Midwifery

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis