Multiple Risk Factors During Pregnancy in South Africa: The Need for a Horizontal Approach to Perinatal Care

Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa, .
Prevention Science (Impact Factor: 2.63). 03/2013; 15(3). DOI: 10.1007/s11121-013-0376-8
Source: PubMed


South African children's long-term health and well-being is jeopardized during their mothers' pregnancies by the intersecting epidemics of HIV, alcohol use, low birth weight (LBW; <2,500 g) related to poor nutrition, and depressed mood. This research examines these overlapping risk factors among 1,145 pregnant Xhosa women living in 24 township neighborhoods in Cape Town, South Africa. Results revealed that 66 % of pregnant women experienced at least one risk factor. In descending order of prevalence, 37 % reported depressed mood, 29 % were HIV+, 25 % used alcohol prior to knowing that they were pregnant, and 15 % had a previous childbirth with a LBW infant. Approximately 27 % of women had more than one risk factor: depressed mood was significantly associated with alcohol use and LBW, with a trend to significance with HIV+. In addition, alcohol use was significantly related to HIV+. These results suggest the importance of intervening across multiple risks to maternal and child health, and particularly with depression and alcohol use, to positively impact multiple maternal and infant outcomes.

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    • "There is some evidence that women with a history of past abuse are more likely than women without such a history to experience heightened depressive or post-traumatic symptoms during pregnancy [39]. Recognition of pregnancy may act as an additional stressor that interacts with the woman’s trauma history to increase distress and related drinking behavior [40]. "
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    ABSTRACT: South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and interpersonal trauma. These co-occurring public health problems raise the need to understand alcohol consumption among trauma-exposed pregnant women in this setting. Since a known predictor of drinking during pregnancy is drinking behavior before pregnancy, this study explored the relationship between women's drinking levels before and after pregnancy recognition, and whether traumatic experiences - childhood abuse or recent intimate partner violence (IPV) - moderated this relationship. Women with incident pregnancies (N = 66) were identified from a longitudinal cohort of 560 female drinkers in a township of Cape Town, South Africa. Participants were included if they reported no pregnancy at one assessment and then reported pregnancy four months later at the next assessment. Alcohol use was measured by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), and traumatic experiences of childhood abuse and recent IPV were also assessed. Hierarchical linear regressions controlling for race and age examined childhood abuse and recent IPV as moderators of the effect of pre-pregnancy recognition drinking on post-pregnancy recognition AUDIT scores. Following pregnancy recognition, 73% of women reported drinking at hazardous levels (AUDIT >= 8). Sixty-four percent reported early and/or recent exposure to trauma. While drinking levels before pregnancy significantly predicted drinking levels after pregnancy recognition, t(64) = 3.50, p < .01, this relationship was moderated by experiences of childhood abuse, B = -.577, t(60) = -2.58, p = .01, and recent IPV, B = -.477, t(60) = -2.16, p = .04. Pregnant women without traumatic experiences reported drinking at levels consistent with levels before pregnancy recognition. However, women with traumatic experiences tended to report elevated AUDIT scores following pregnancy recognition, even if low-risk drinkers previously. This study explored how female drinkers in South Africa may differentially modulate their drinking patterns upon pregnancy recognition, depending on trauma history. Our results suggest that women with traumatic experiences are more likely to exhibit risky alcohol consumption when they become pregnant, regardless of prior risk. These findings illuminate the relevance of trauma-informed efforts to reduce FASD in South Africa.
    BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 03/2014; 14(1):97. DOI:10.1186/1471-2393-14-97 · 2.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background The prevalence of general alcohol use in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is high. However, research examining alcohol use in among pregnant women within this population is limited. A review of the current status of research examining the prevalence of alcohol exposed pregnancies (AEP) is required to inform future research aiming to decrease this occurrence and its subsequent socio-economic complications.Objective The primary objective was to identify all published papers estimating prevalence and risk-factors of alcohol use among pregnant women in SSA. A secondary objective was to determine changes in alcohol use following pregnancy recognition.Methods PubMed/Medline, Embase, IPA, CINAHL were systematically searched using MeSH terms and keywords from inception date to March 2013. Studies from SSA reporting prevalence of alcohol use among pregnant women were included.ResultsTwelve studies were identified. Studies varied significantly according to design and study population. Prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy ranged from 2.2%-87%. The most important risk-factors for alcohol use included tobacco use, partner violence, urban living, and having a male partner who drank alcohol. Only three studies examined changes in alcohol use prior to and following pregnancy recognition with absolute reductions of between 9% and 15%.Conclusions Although the burden of alcohol use during pregnancy is likely a significant problem, limited data currently exist for the majority of SSA countries. Furthermore, significant variation likely exists within various populations. Further research is required to explore alcohol use in pregnancy. Strategies to decrease AEP must be developed and implemented in standard pre-natal care.
    The Canadian journal of clinical pharmacology = Journal canadien de pharmacologie clinique 10/2013; 20(3):e321-33.
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    ABSTRACT: Randomized controlled trials conducted in resource-limited settings have shown that once women with depressed mood are evaluated by specialists and referred for treatment, lay health workers can be trained to effectively administer psychological treatments. We sought to determine the extent to which community health workers could also be trained to conduct case finding using short and ultrashort screening instruments programmed into mobile phones. Pregnant, Xhosa-speaking women were recruited independently in two cross-sectional studies (N = 1,144 and N = 361) conducted in Khayelitsha, South Africa and assessed for antenatal depression. In the smaller study, community health workers with no training in human subject research were trained to administer the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) during the routine course of their community-based outreach. We compared the operating characteristics of four short and ultrashort versions of the EPDS with the criterion standard of probable depression, defined as an EPDS-10 ≥ 13. The prevalence of probable depression (475/1144 [42 %] and 165/361 [46 %]) was consistent across both samples. The 2-item subscale demonstrated poor internal consistency (Cronbach's α ranged from 0.55 to 0.58). All four subscales demonstrated excellent discrimination, with area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) values ranging from 0.91 to 0.99. Maximal discrimination was observed for the 7-item depressive symptoms subscale: at the conventional screening threshold of ≥10, it had 0.97 sensitivity and 0.76 specificity for detecting probable antenatal depression. The comparability of the findings across the two studies suggests that it is feasible to use community health workers to conduct case finding for antenatal depression.
    Archives of Women s Mental Health 03/2014; 17(5). DOI:10.1007/s00737-014-0426-7 · 2.16 Impact Factor
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