Prevalence

In South Africa, studies have found that about 20% of women living in adversity will experience a mental illness during pregnancy.

Life changes around pregnancy can make women more vulnerable to mental illness, therefor women are at higher risk of developing depression or anxiety during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Worldwide about 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental disorder, primarily depression. In South Africa this is even higher at 20%, which compares to 1 out of 5 women during or after childbirth.

Depression can lead to unhealthy behavioural changes and depression during pregnancy is no exception. As a result, the children’s growth and development may be negatively affected as well.

But maternal mental disorders are detectable and treatable. Integrated maternal mental health care provides the necessary support to empower women to identify resources and personal capabilities. This can enhance their resilience to difficult life circumstances and support them to nurture their children optimally. Caring for mothers is a positive intervention for long-term social development.

Published data on prevalence of depression and anxiety during the perinatal period and possible interventions

  • Grand Challenges: Integrating Maternal Mental Health into Maternal and Child Health Programmes (2013) Rahman A, Surkan PJ, Cayetano CE, Rwagatare P, Dickson KE, PLoS Med. 10(5): e1001442. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001442
    Weblink
  • Prevalence and determinants of common perinatal mental disorders in women in low- and lower-middle-income countries: a systematic review (2012) Fisher, J., Mello, M., Patel, V., Rahman, A., Tran, T., Holton, S & Holmes, W., Bulletin of the World Health Organization.90(2): 139-149 
    Weblink
  • Stepped Care for Maternal Mental Health: A Case Study of the Perinatal Mental Health Project in South Africa (2012)  Honikman S, van Heyningen T, Field S, Baron E, Tomlinson M, PLoS Med.9(5): e1001222. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001222. 
    Weblink
  • The prevalence and clinical presentation of antenatal depression in rural South Africa (2011) Rochat, T. J., Tomlinson, M., Bärnighausen, T., Newell, M-L., & Stein, A., Journal of Affective Disorders. 135: 362-373 
    Weblink
  • Depressed mood in pregnancy: Prevalence and correlates in two Cape Town peri-urban settlements (2011) Hartley, M., Tomlinson, M., Greco, E., Comulada, W. S., Stewart, J., le Roux, I., Mbewu, N., et al. Reproductive Health. 8: 1-9 
    Weblink
  • Improving child outcomes through maternal mental health interventions(2010) Meintjes I, Field S, Sanders L, van Heyningen T, Honikman S, Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health.22(2): 73-82. 
    Weblink
  • The South African Stress and Health (SASH) study: 12-month and lifetime prevalence of common mental disorders (2009) Herman, A. A., Stein, D. J., Seedat, S., Heeringa, S. G., Moomal, H., & Williams, D. R., SAMJ: South African Medical Journal.99(5): 339-344 
    Weblink
  • The epidemiology of major depression in South Africa: results from the South African stress and health study (2009) Tomlinson, M., Grimsrud, A. T., Stein, D. J., Williams, D. R., & Myer, L., SAMJ: South African Medical Journal,99(5), 368-373 
    Weblink
  • Life stress and mental disorders in the South African Stress and Health study (2009) Seedat, S., Stein, D. J., Jackson, P. B., Heeringa, S. G., Williams, D. R., & Myer, L., SAMJ: South African Medical Journal. 99(5): 375-382 
    Weblink
  • To screen or not to screen-that is the question in perinatal depression (2002) Buist, A. E., Barnett, B. E. W., Milgrom, J., Pope, S., Condon, J. T., Ellwood, D., Boyce, P. M., et al. (2002).The Medical Journal of Australia. 177 Suppl(October): S101–5 
    Weblink