Main Article Content
Background: Perinatal depression causes significant burden to women and their families during the perinatal period. However, there is no reliable national prevalence data on perinatal depression in Malawi.
Aim: This systematic review aimed at establishing the pooled prevalence of perinatal depression.
Setting: The study setting is Malawi.
Methods: Two reviewers conducted the search, selection, quality evaluation and data abstraction. Appropriate terms were used to search the CINAHL, PsychINFO, PubMed and ScienceDirect databases. The relevance and the quality of the studies were assessed. The prevalence of prenatal depression was pooled using a random-effects model, which was used to synthesise the data.
Results: The review included a total of eight articles of fair and good quality. This review found a pooled prevalence of antenatal depression of 17.1% (95.0% confidence interval [CI]: 12.5–22.2) and postnatal depression of 19.8% (95.0% CI: 4.6–42.1) with an overall pooled prevalence of perinatal depression of 18.9% (95.0% CI: 14.5–23.8).
Conclusion: This systematic review provided a pooled prevalence of perinatal depression which may be used in the absence of national prevalence data on perinatal depression.
Contribution: This systematic review found a high a pooled prevalence of perinatal depression in Malawi suggesting that mental health should be a key component of maternal health programmes, policies and activities in the local setting.