Introduction: Antenatal depression is potentially deleterious to the mother and baby. Canadian Aboriginal women have an increased risk for living in poverty, family violence, and substance use; however, little is known about antenatal depression in this group. We sought to determine the prevalence and correlates of depression in socially high-risk, mostly Aboriginal pregnant women.
Methods: We approached women (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal), in two prenatal outreach programs and compared depressive symptoms between the two groups, using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).
Results: We recruited 60% (n=402) of potential participants. The prevalence of depression was 29.5% (n=402). Depression was associated with a history of depression, mood swings, increased stressors, current smoker, and lack of social support. Aboriginal women were more likely to be depressed, but not significantly higher than non-Aboriginal women; they did experience significantly more self-harm thoughts. Exercise was a significant mediator for depression.
Conclusion: The prevalence of antenatal depression confirms rates in other high-risk, ethnic minority groups of women. A previous history of depression and mood problems were associated with depression, thus prenatal care should include a careful mental health assessment. On a positive note, our study suggests exercise, may mediate antenatal depression.
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