Objective: To examine depressive symptomatology in women after childbirth in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Design: A cross sectional survey.
Setting: Hung Vuong Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital and the Maternal, Child Health and Family Planning Center of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Population: Mothers of infants aged +/- six weeks attending well-baby clinics.
Method: Participants were recruited consecutively in the postnatal wards and invited to take part in the study at the first clinic visit. Individual structured interviews about health and social circumstances, including the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) were administered during clinic visits. The interview schedule was translated into Vietnamese, back translated for verification and piloted. Interviewers were specifically trained members of staff of the two centres.
Main outcome measures: EPDS scores and responses to structured questions about specific and non-specific symptoms.
Results: Of 506 women who participated, 166 (33%) had EPDS scores in the clinical range of > 12 and 99 (19%) acknowledged suicidal ideation. In a forward stepwise logistic regression analysis, 77% of cases with EPDS scores > 12 were correctly classified in a model which included unwelcome pregnancy, lack of a permanent job, < 30 days complete rest after childbirth, an unsettled baby, not being given special foods, avoiding proscribed foods and being unable to confide in their husbands.
Conclusion: Depressive symptomatology is more prevalent among parturient women in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam than reported rates in developed countries and is at present unrecognised.