Prevalence and risk of mental disorders in the perinatal period among migrant women: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Author(s): Fraser M. ANDERSON ; Stephani L. HATCH ; Carla COMACCHIO ; Louise M. HOWARD


This study was conducted in order to evaluate the prevalence and risk of mental disorders in the perinatal period among migrant women. Six databases (including MEDLINE) were searched from inception to October 19th, 2015, in addition to citation tracking. Studies were eligible if mental disorders were assessed with validated tools during pregnancy and up to 1 year postpartum among women born outside of the study country. Of 3241 abstracts screened, 53 met the inclusion criteria for the review. Only three studies investigated a mental disorder other than depression. Unadjusted odds ratios were pooled using random effects meta-analysis for elevated depression symptoms during pregnancy (n = 12) and the postpartum (n = 24), stratified by study country due to heterogeneity. Studies from Canada found an increased risk for antenatal (OR = 1.86, 95% CIs 1.32–2.62) and postnatal elevated depression symptoms (OR = 1.98, 95% CIs 1.57–2.49) associated with migrant status. Studies from the USA found a decreased risk of antenatal elevated depression symptoms (OR = 0.71, 95% CIs 0.51–0.99), and studies from the USA and Australia found no association between migrant status and postnatal elevated depression symptoms. Low social support, minority ethnicity, low socioeconomic status, lack of proficiency in host country language and refugee or asylum-seeking status all put migrant populations at increased risk of perinatal mental disorders.


Perinatal mental health, Migrant women, Refugees, Asylum-seekers, Postpartum depression, Antenatal depression 

Tags: United States, Canada, Australia, Women, Refugees, Asylum seekers, Perinatal, Postpartum depression, Antenatal depression, Pregnancy

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