Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Antenatal depression in socially high-risk women in Canada


Background: 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. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and correlates of depression in socially high-risk, mostly Aboriginal pregnant women.

Methods: Women (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal), in two prenatal outreach programmes were approached and depressive symptoms between the two groups were compared, using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).

Results: Sixty per cent (n = 402) of potential participants were recruited for the study. 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 this was not significantly higher than non-Aboriginal women; however, 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, the present study suggests that exercise may mediate antenatal depression.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.