Prevalence and determinants of common perinatal mental disorders in women in low- and lower-middle-income countries: A systematic review

Jane Rosamond Woodward Fisher, Meena Cabral de Mello, Vikram Patel, Atif Rahman, Thach Tran, Sara Holton, Wendy Holmes

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686 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To review the evidence about the prevalence and determinants of non-psychotic common perinatal mental disorders (CPMDs) in World Bank categorized low-and lower-middle-income countries.
Methods: Major databases were searched systematically for English-language publications on the prevalence of non-psychotic CPMDs and on their risk factors and determinants. All study designs were included.
Findings: Thirteen papers covering 17 low and lower-middle-income countries provided findings for pregnant women, and 34, for women who had just given birth. Data on disorders in the antenatal period were available for 9 (8 ) countries, and on disorders in the postnatal period, for 17 (15 ). Weighted mean prevalence was 15.6 (95 confidence interval, CI: 15.4-15.9) antenatally and 19.8 (19.5-20.0) postnatally. Risk factors were: socioeconomic disadvantage (odds ratio [OR] range: 2.1-13.2); unintended pregnancy (1.6-8.8); being younger (2.1-5.4); being unmarried (3.4-5.8); lacking intimate partner empathy and support (2.0-9.4); having hostile in-laws (2.1-4.4); experiencing intimate partner violence (2.11-6.75); having insufficient emotional and practical support (2.8-6.1); in some settings, giving birth to a female (1.8-2.6), and having a history of mental health problems (5.1-5.6). Protective factors were: having more education (relative risk: 0.5; P = 0.03); having a permanent job (OR: 0.64; 95 CI: 0.4-1.0); being of the ethnic majority (OR: 0.2; 95 CI: 0.1-0.8) and having a kind, trustworthy intimate partner (OR: 0.52; 95 CI: 0.3-0.9).
Conclusion: CPMDs are more prevalent in low-and lower-middle-income countries, particularly among poorer women with gender-based risks or a psychiatric history.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139 - 149
Number of pages11
JournalBulletin of the World Health Organization
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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