Prevalence and determinants of symptoms of antenatal common mental disorders among women who had recently experienced an earthquake: A systematic review

Goma Kumari Khatri, Thach Duc Tran, Jane Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Antenatal common mental disorders (CMDs) including anxiety, depressive, adjustment, and somatoform disorders are prevalent worldwide. There is emerging evidence that experiencing a natural disaster might increase the risk of antenatal CMDs. This study aimed to synthesise the evidence about the prevalence and determinants of clinically-significant symptoms of antenatal CMDs among women who had recently experienced an earthquake. Methods: This systematic review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. The search included both electronic and manual components. Five major databases were searched. A data extraction table was used to summarise study characteristics and findings. Two authors examined the quality of studies independently using a quality assessment tool. A narrative synthesis of the findings reported. Results: In total seven articles met inclusion criteria. Quality scores ranged from six to seven out of ten. All the studies were cross-sectional surveys and were conducted in high and middle-income countries. Sample sizes varied among studies. The prevalence of clinically-significant symptoms of antenatal CMD ranged from 4.6% (95% CI, 3.2; 6.5) experiencing 'psychological stress' in Japan to 40.8% (95% CI, 35.5; 46.4) 'depression' in China. While all studies were conducted in an earthquake context, only four examined some aspect of earthquake experiences as a risk factor for antenatal CMDs. In multivariable analyses, higher marital conflict, poor social support, multiparity, stresses of pregnancy and the personality characteristic of a negative coping style were identified as risks and a positive coping style as protective against antenatal CMDs. Conclusions: This systematic review found that women who have recently experienced an earthquake are at heightened risk of antenatal mental health problems. It indicates that in addition to the establishment of services for safe birth which is recognised in post-disaster management strategies, pregnancy mental health should be a priority. The review also revealed that there is no evidence available from the world's low-income nations where natural disasters might have more profound impacts because local infrastructure is more fragile and where it is already established that women experience a higher burden of antenatal CMDs. Trial registration: PROSPERO- CRD42017056501.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
Number of pages17
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2019


  • Antenatal
  • Common mental disorders
  • Earthquake
  • Women

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