Depression is a common mental health disorder during pregnancy, with important consequences for mothers and their children. Despite this, it goes undiagnosed and untreated in many women attending antenatal care. Smartphones could help support the prompt identification of antenatal depression in this setting. In addition, these devices enable the implementation of ecological momentary assessment techniques, which could be used to assess how mood is experienced during pregnancy. With this study, we will assess the feasibility of using a bespoke mobile application (app) running on participants’ own handsets for the longitudinal (6 months) monitoring of antenatal mood and screening of depression.
Methods and analysis
We will use a randomised controlled study design to compare two types of assessment strategies: retrospective + momentary (consisting of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale plus five momentary and two contextual questions), and retrospective (consisting of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale only). We will assess the impact that these strategies have on participant adherence to a prespecified sampling protocol, dropout rates and timeliness of data completion. We will evaluate differences in acceptance of the technology through a short quantitative survey and open-ended questions. We will also assess the potential effect that momentary assessments could have on retrospective data. We will attempt to identify any patterns in app usage through the analysis of log data.
Ethics and dissemination
This study has been reviewed and approved by the National Research Ethics Service Committee South East Coast—Surrey on 15 April 2016 as a notice of substantial amendment to the original submission (9 July 2015) under the Research Ethics Committee (REC) reference 15/LO/0977. This study is being sponsored by Imperial College London under the reference number 15IC2687 and has been included in the UK Clinical Research Network Study Portfolio under the Central Portfolio Management System number 19280. The findings of this study will be disseminated through academic peer-reviewed publications, poster presentations and abstracts at academic and professional conferences, discussion with peers, and social media. The findings of this study will also inform the PhD theses of JSMB and KD.