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Prevalence and predictors of poor mental health among pregnant women in Wales using a cross-sectional survey

Savory, N. A. ORCID:, Hannigan, B. ORCID:, John, R. M. ORCID:, Sanders, J. ORCID: and Garay, S. M. 2021. Prevalence and predictors of poor mental health among pregnant women in Wales using a cross-sectional survey. Midwifery 103 , 103103. 10.1016/j.midw.2021.103103

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Objectives To assess the prevalence of self-reported mental health problems in a cohort of women in early pregnancy. To describe the relationship between poor mental health and sociodemographic characteristics, self-efficacy and support networks. To assess if participants were representative of the local antenatal population. Research design and setting The UK government has pledged money to provide more support for women with perinatal mental health issues. Understanding the prevalence and predicting women who may need support will inform clinical practice. This paper reports part of the larger ‘Mothers Mood Study’, which explored women's and midwives’ experience of mild to moderate perinatal mental health issues and service provision. Routinely collected population level data were analysed and a smaller cross-sectional survey design used to assess predictors of poor mental health in early pregnancy in one health board in Wales. Participants Routinely collected data were extracted for all women who registered for maternity care between May 2017 and May 2018 (n = 6312) from the electronic maternity information system (pregnant population). Over a three month period 302 of these women completed a questionnaire at the antenatal clinic after an ultrasound scan (participants). Eligible women were aged ≥18 years, with sufficient spoken and written English to complete the questionnaire and a viable pregnancy of ≤18 weeks’ gestation. The questionnaire collected data on sociodemographic status, self-efficacy and support networks, self-reported mental health problems. Current anxiety and depression were assessed using the General Anxiety Disorders Assessment and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Findings Among the pregnant population 23% (n = 1490) disclosed a mental health problem during routine questioning with anxiety and depression being the most common conditions. Participants completing the detailed questionnaire were similar in age and parity to the pregnant population with similar levels of depression (15.6%; n = 15.6 v 17.3%, n = 1092). Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and General Anxiety Disorder 7 scores identified 8% with symptoms of anxiety (n = 25) or depression (n = 26) and a further 24.2% (n = 73) with symptoms of mild anxiety and 25.2% (n = 76) with mild depression. Low self-efficacy (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.12–1.45), a previous mental health problem (OR 3.95, 95% CI 1.37–11.33) and low support from family (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.00–1.27) were found to be associated with early pregnancy anxiety and/or depression. Key conclusions and implications for practice Around one in five women who register for maternity care may have a mental health problem. Mild to moderate anxiety and depression are common in early pregnancy. Services need to improve for women who do not currently meet the threshold for referral to perinatal mental health services. Assessment and active monitoring of mental health is recommended, in particular for pregnant women with risk factors including a history of previous mental health difficulties, poor family support or low self-efficacy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0266-6138
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 August 2021
Date of Acceptance: 14 July 2021
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 01:55

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