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Abstract Background Perinatal depression is a significant contributor to maternal morbidity and mortality globally. Migrant women, particularly those living in low- and middle-income settings, represent a particularly vulnerable group due to stressors experienced before, during and after migration. The vast majority of global migration flows occurring within and between low- and middle-income regions, yet existing evidence focuses predominantly on migrants in high-income destinations. This study aimed to redress this significant gap in the evidence by determining the prevalence and determinants of perinatal depression among migrant women on the Thai-Myanmar border. Methods A cohort of labour migrant and refugee women was followed-up from the first trimester of pregnancy to one month post-partum. Depression status was assessed in the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy and at one month post-partum using the Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnosis of DSM-IV Disorders. Women diagnosed with depression had immediate access to care. Data on potential demographic, social and clinical associated factors was collected using a questionnaire. Prevalence and incidence of any depressive disorder and moderate-severe depressive disorder was calculated. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression using complete case analysis was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) of association between exposure variables and depression status. Results Five hundred sixty-eight women participated. Period prevalence (from first trimester of pregnancy to one month post-partum) of moderate-severe perinatal depression was 18.5% (95% CI 15.4–21.9%). Overall, 15.4% (95% CI 11.8–19.6%) of women developed new-onset moderate-severe depression during the study period. Forty-two participants received treatment for depression. Risk factors were interpersonal violence (OR 4.5; 95% CI 1.9–11.1); history of trauma (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.4–4.3); self-reported history of depression (OR 2.3; 95% CI 1.2–4.2); labour migrant status (OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.1–4.0); low social support (OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.1–3.7); and maternal age (OR 1.1 per year; 95% CI 1.0–1.1). Limitations of the study include that culturally specific manifestations of depression may have been missed. Conclusions Perinatal depression represents a significant burden among migrant women on the Thai-Myanmar border. Programmes to address the determinants along with early case identification and effective treatment and referral systems are key to addressing perinatal depression in this low-resource setting.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Psychiatry


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Date