In perinatal psychiatry, randomized controlled trials are often not feasible on ethical grounds. Many studies are observational in nature, while others employ large databases not designed primarily for research purposes. Quality assessment of the resulting research is complicated by a lack of standardized tools specifically for this purpose. The aim of this paper is to describe the Systematic Assessment of Quality in Observational Research (SAQOR), a quality assessment tool our team devised for a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of evidence-based literature regarding risks and benefits of antidepressant medication during pregnancy. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.