Anxiety and depression during pregnancy and postpartum period at a rural community in Dang, Nepal

Funded by: Health Foundation Nepal


Maternal perinatal psychiatric illnesses can have detrimental health effects on the mother and her child. One such illness is perinatal depression which is reported to be between 10-15% in the general population. The consequences of untreated mental health problems during pregnancy and postpartum have become critical issues in the past few decades leading to numerous serious consequences including suicide, which is one of the most common causes of maternal mortality and which accounts for nearly 20% of postpartum deaths. In addition, maternal depression and anxiety are linked to an increased risk of smoking and substance abuse, poor nutrition, loss of interpersonal and financial resources, and infanticide. Both anxiety and depression are common comorbid conditions faced by women of reproductive age. Studies have also shown that anxiety disorders are significantly more common than depression during pregnancy and postpartum. Generally, the prevalence of both antepartum and postpartum maternal depression is higher in low-income and middle-income countries (LMIC) than in high-income countries. Similarly, the prevalence of antepartum depression ranges from 7% to 15% in high-income countries compared to the 19% to 25% in LMIC.


Our study aims to fill in these gaps in knowledge and illuminate the prevalence of these psychological conditions amongst mothers in the rural setting of Dang, Nepal.


In rural Nepal, some of the predictors for maternal mental disorders included the severe food insecurity, perinatal health problems, and lack of education, poor antenatal care, having never had a son, and not being in the parental home postnatal. In addition, depression was more prevalent during pregnancy (24.4%) than postpartum (14.4%). Though there have been studies done which explore the prevalence of maternal postpartum depression in urban settings in Nepal, there are limited studies which focus on the comorbid conditions of maternal depression and anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum in rural Nepal.

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