Birth outcomes, postpartum health and primary care contacts of immigrant mothers in an Australian nulliparous pregnancy cohort study.
ABSTRACT To investigate differences and similarities in birth outcomes, postpartum health and primary care contacts of mothers born overseas of non-English speaking background (NESB) compared with Australian-born mothers. Nulliparous women were recruited in early pregnancy (< or =24 weeks gestation) to a prospective pregnancy cohort study from six metropolitan public hospitals in Victoria, Australia. Analyses are based on questionnaires completed in pregnancy and at 3 months postpartum. Of the 1,507 women recruited in the study, 1,431 women (95%) were followed up at 3 months postpartum. Immigrant mothers of NESB (n = 212) and Australian born mothers (n = 1,074) had similar obstetric outcomes and postpartum physical health outcomes. Immigrant women were more likely to say they had been depressed for 2 weeks or longer since the birth (Adj OR = 1.92, 95% CI 1.3-2.8); to report relationship problems (Adj OR = 1.39, 95% CI 0.9-2.1) and to report lower emotional satisfaction with their relationship with the partner (Adj OR = 1.69, 95% CI 1.1-2.6) after adjusting for age, education status, income, method of birth and genital tract trauma. Immigrant mothers were less likely to be asked about feeling low or depressed by general practitioners (OR = 0.79, 95% CI 0.5-0.9) and about relationship problems by maternal and child health nurses (OR = 0.68, 95% CI 0.5-0.9). Immigrant women of NESB reported greater psychological distress, less emotional satisfaction with their partner and more relationship problems in the first 3 months postpartum than Australian born women. Although immigrant mothers had an equivalent level of contact with primary care practitioners in the first 3 months postpartum, they were less likely to be asked about their emotional well-being or about relationship problems by health professionals.
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ABSTRACT: AIM: The aim of this paper is to describe the factors that impact on the mental health of Australian and New Zealand (NZ) women in the perinatal period (pregnancy and the year following birth), and to determine the impact of perinatal mental health on women's subsequent health by summarising findings from prospective longitudinal studies conducted in Australia and NZ. METHODS: A systematic search was conducted using the databases, Scopus, Medline, PsychInfo and Health Source to identify prospective longitudinal studies focused on women's social and emotional health in the perinatal period. Forty-eight papers from eight longitudinal studies were included. RESULTS: The proportion of women reporting depressive symptoms in the first year after birth was between 10 and 20% and this has remained stable over 25 years. The two strongest predictors for depression and anxiety were previous history of depression and poor partner relationship. Importantly, women's mood appears to be better in the first year after birth, when compared to pregnancy and five years later. Becoming a mother at a young age is by itself not a risk factor unless coupled with social disadvantage. Women report a high number of stressors in pregnancy and following birth and the rate of intimate partner violence reported is worryingly high. CONCLUSION: Midwives have an important role in the identification, support and referral of women experiencing mental health problems. As many women do not seek help from mental health services, the potential for a known midwife to impact on women's mental health warrants further examination.Women and Birth 04/2013;