Prevalence of postnatal depression among Arab women: a narrative review


Shanthi Ramasubramaniam, Girija Kalayil Madhavanprabhakaran, Lakshmi Renganathan and Savithri Raman

Objective: To describe the prevalence of postnatal depression and its risk factors among Arab women. Even though postnatal depression remains a worldwide phenomenon, there are continental variations in the prevalence rates and predictors. Methods: The prevalence of postnatal depression and its predictors remains influenced by the culture, tradition, values and beliefs among the Arab women. Since postnatal depression has effect on the mother and the baby, early diagnosis will help in implementing the preventive strategies to prevent worsening of the problem. Hence a narrative review of studies on prevalence postnatal depression and risk factors among Arab women will help in informing the current situation to public and health care providers. This review was conducted to describe the prevalence of postnatal depression and its risk factors among the Arab women during the past 7 years from 2005-2012. We searched the electronic databases SCIENCE DIRECT, PUBMED, CINHAL, EBSCO, SCOPUS, and UPTODATE to identify relevant studies. Initially 38 studies were identified potentially relevant and out of which 17 studies which met the selection criteria were included in the review. Results: Seventeen studies with a total of 9,132 Arab women were included in the narrative review. The maximum and minimum reported prevalence of postnatal depression were 10-80 % respectively. History of late prenatal depression, and anxiety, being first time mother with poor body self image, poor relationship with partner and in-laws, unplanned pregnancy ,lack of social support, perceived low parental knowledge and preterm birth were the significant risk factors identified among the studies reviewed. Conclusion: This narrative review informs the current status regarding prevalence and risk factors for postnatal depression among Arab women and has implications for clinical practice. The review identified that postnatal depression among Arab women is highly significant than other cultures. Midwives and health care providers should therefore be trained and given opportunities to learn to identify the risk factors of postnatal depression to aid the mental wellbeing among postnatal mothers.

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