Determining factors for the prevalence of depressive symptoms among postpartum mothers in lowland region in southern Nepal

Devendra Raj Singh, Dev Ram Sunuwar, Shraddha Adhikari, Sunita Singh, Kshitij Karki
PloS One 2021, 16 (1): e0245199

BACKGROUND: Postpartum depression is the most common mental health problem among women of childbearing age in resource-poor countries. Poor maternal mental health is linked with both acute and chronic negative effects on the growth and development of the child. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and factors associated with depressive symptoms among postpartum mothers in the lowland region in southern Nepal.

METHODS: A hospital-based analytical cross-sectional study was conducted from 1st July to 25th August 2019 among 415 randomly selected postpartum mothers attending the child immunization clinic at Narayani hospital. The postpartum depressive symptoms were measured using the validated Nepalese version of the Edinburg Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). The data were entered into EpiData software 3.1v and transferred into Stata version 14.1 (StataCorp LP, College Station, Texas) for statistical analyses. To identify the correlates, backward stepwise binary logistic regression models were performed separately for the dichotomized outcomes: the presence of postpartum depressive symptoms. The statistical significance was considered at p-value <0.05 with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS: Among the total 415 study participants, 33.7% (95% CI: 29.2-38.5%) of postpartum mothers had depressive symptoms. Study participant's whose family monthly income <150 USD compared to ≥150 USD (aOR = 13.76, 95% CI: 6.54-28.95), the husband had migrated for employment compared to not migrated (aOR = 8.19, 95% CI:4.11-15.87), nearest health facility located at more than 60 minutes of walking distance (aOR = 4.52, 95% CI: 2.26-9.03), delivered their last child by cesarean section compared to normal (vaginal) delivery (aOR = 2.02, 95% CI: 1.12-3.59) and received less than four recommended antenatal care (ANC) visits (aOR = 2.28, 95% CI:1.25-4.15) had higher odds of depressive symptoms. Participants who had planned pregnancy (aOR = 0.44, 95% CI: 0.25-0.77) were associated with 56% lower odds of depressive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: One-third of the mothers suffered from postpartum depressive symptoms. The participant's husband migrated for employment, family income, distance to reach a health facility, delivery by cesarean section, not receiving recommended ANC visits, and plan of pregnancy were independent predictors for postpartum depressive symptoms. The study results warranted the urgency for clinical diagnosis of PPD and implementation of preventive package in study settings. Mental health education to pregnant women during ANC visits and proper counseling during the antepartum and postpartum period can also play a positive role in preventing postpartum depression.

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