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Pacific Island women in NZ have high rates of antenatal depressive symptoms

This study included 5,657 pregnant NZ women, 727 of whom identified as Pacific Island.1 Participants received the Edinburgh Depression scale where a score of ≥13 indicates significant symptoms of antenatal depression (ADS).

Pacific women had significantly higher rates of ADS than non-Pacific women, with 23% of pregnant Pacific women experiencing ADS vs 7.9% in European women.

Factors associated with ADS included age <25 years, moderate to severe nausea during pregnancy, perceived stress and family stress. One in three Pacific women aged <25 years experienced ADS.

Having a GP pre-pregnancy was protective. Unplanned pregnancy was not a significant risk factor and there were no significant differences between specific Pacific ethnic groups. Being in a supportive relationship and having a strong sense of belonging to either Pacific and/or NZ culture were significantly associated with lower rates of ADS.

The Gem has been reviewed by Dr Lisa Underwood