Postnatal depression among women availing maternal health services in a rural hospital in South India

Avita Rose Johnson, Serin Edwin, Nayanthara Joachim, Geethu Mathew, Shwetha Ajay, Bobby Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: Postnatal depression, with an estimated prevalence of 13-19%, causes significant impairment of mental health among women worldwide and has long term consequences. However, more than half of all cases are not detected by healthcare providers. Screening for postnatal depression has not been given importance in maternal health programs in India. Our objective was to screen for postnatal depression among women attending a rural hospital in India, immediately postpartum and at 6-8 weeks post-delivery, and to study associated factors. Methods: A cross sectional study was done on 123 postnatal women attending a rural maternity hospital in Karnataka, South India, of whom 74 women were interviewed within one week of childbirth, and 49 women at 6-8 weeks post-delivery. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was used to screen for postnatal depression. Results: About 45.5% of the women screened positive for postnatal depression (44.6% of all subjects within one week of delivery and 46.9% at 6-8 weeks after delivery). Postnatal depression was significantly associated with mood swings during antenatal period, staying with the family of birth during pregnancy and away from their husbands, and was significantly higher among women who perceived their life as stressful and having a low self-esteem (P<0.05) Conclusions: This study found a high prevalence of postnatal depression in women in rural Karnataka. This underlines the need for incorporating screening for postnatal depression in the routine care of women during pregnancy and delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-413
Number of pages6
JournalPakistan Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

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© 2015, Professional Medical Publications. All rights reserved.


  • Mental health
  • Postnatal depression
  • Pregnancy
  • Rural women


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