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Postpartum major depression at six weeks in primary health care: prevalence and associated factors

J N Nakku
G Nakasi
F Mirembe


Background: Major depression is a common and disabling complication of the postpartum period in women. It is thought to occur three times more commonly in the developing than in developed countries.

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of and factors associated with major depression among women attending a peri-urban primary health care unit in Kampala, Uganda, at six weeks postpartum.

Method: Five hundred and fourty four women attending a peri-urban health centre were investigated in a cross-sectional study. These women were screened using the twenty five-item Self Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-25), while major depression was confirmed using the Mini International Neuro-psychiatric Interview (MINI). Associations were sought between major depression and the respondents' demographics and various psychological, social and obstetric factors.

Results: The point prevalence of major depression at six weeks postpartum was 6.1%. Psychiatric disorder was significantly associated with young age, being single, negative life events, unplanned pregnancy, unwanted sex of baby and current physical illness in both mother and newborn.

Conclusion: There is indication for routine screening of at risk women in the peri-natal period to avoid, recognize and manage postpartum psychiatric morbidity and its consequence on mothers and their developing children.

> African Health Sciences Vol. 6 (4) 2006: pp. 207-214

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eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905