Background: The disability associated with depression and its impact on maternal and child health has important implications for public health policy. While the prevalence of postnatal depression is high, there are no prevalence data on antenatal depression in South Africa. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and correlates of depressed mood in pregnancy in Cape Town peri-urban settlements.
Methods: This study reports on baseline data collected from the Philani Mentor Mothers Project (PMMP), a community-based, cluster-randomized controlled trial on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. The PMMP aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a home-based intervention for preventing and managing illnesses related to HIV, TB, alcohol use and malnutrition in pregnant mothers and their infants. Participants were 1062 pregnant women from Khayelitsha and Mfuleni, Cape Town. Measures included the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the Derived AUDIT-C, indices for social support with regards to partner and parents, and questions concerning socio-demographics, intimate partner violence, and the current pregnancy. Data were analysed using bivariate analyses followed by logistic regression.
Results: Depressed mood in pregnancy was reported by 39% of mothers. The strongest predictors of depressed mood were lack of partner support, intimate partner violence, having a household income below R2000 per month, and younger age.
Conclusions: The high prevalence of depressed mood in pregnancy necessitates early screening and intervention in primary health care and antenatal settings for depression. The effectiveness and scalability of community-based interventions for maternal depression must be developed for pregnant women in peri-urban settlements.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00972699.